The Poverty Of The United States

1746 WordsApr 26, 20167 Pages
What is poverty? A question most Americans will not have to think twice before answering. Poverty is, of course, simply a lack of money. The views of a specific person will defer when politics or morals are introduced, however, the idea stays the same. Those in poverty are there because they have less money than what has been decided to be livable. Poverty has changed significantly over the last two hundred years in the United States, and yet, the measurement has hardly changed since it was created fifty years ago. As the United States of America has because a better-established country and therefore a more prosperous country, the type of people that are considered poor has changed quite a bit. Before industrialization and immigration…show more content…
The poverty line was created in the mid-1960s when a team in New York City’s Department of Health was assigned to find out exactly how many children were impoverished at that time. One of the members, Mollie Orshansky found that there was not yet, a set way of measuring poverty, so she set out to create her own. Armed with the 1955 Department of Agriculture, which stated that families of three or more, commonly spent close to a third of their income on food. Orshansky multiplied a family’s food budget by three, and that became the poverty line, which at that time allotted $143.47 per week in today’s dollars for a family of four. This system may have worked in the 1960s, but America has changed significantly since then, the poverty must change as America does or poverty will never be measured correctly. For instance, instead of the third spent on food in the past now, the amount is closer to one fourteenth of a family’s income. Times have changed with cell phones, transportation, saving for college and childcare, what was important in the 1960s is very different to the present day. Which should drastically change how the poverty line in calculated and yet, year after year other than a slight movement for inflation the poverty line does not change (Light). However, this brings up an interesting question. What is a basic human need and what is a luxury? This idea
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