Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an Xbox: What is Poverty in the United States Today?

“Abstract: For decades, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that over 30 million Americans were living in “poverty,” but the bureau’s definition of poverty differs widely from that held by most Americans. In fact, other government surveys show that most of the persons whom the government defines as “in poverty” are not poor in any ordinary sense of the term. The overwhelming majority of the poor have air conditioning, cable TV, and a host of other modern amenities. They are well housed, have an adequate and reasonably steady supply of food, and have met their other basic needs, including medical care. Some poor Americans do experience significant hardships, including temporary food shortages or inadequate housing, but these individuals are a minority within the overall poverty population. Poverty remains an issue of serious social concern, but accurate information about that problem is essential in crafting wise public policy. Exaggeration and misinformation about poverty obscure the nature, extent, and causes of real material deprivation, thereby hampering the development of well-targeted, effective programs to reduce the problem.”

The new poor are the one’s who pay, through excessive taxation, the welfare that gives the old poor the ability to have an Xbox, cable and cell phones.

American poor are other developing countries’ middle or upper middle class. Have you guys seen a Powerpoint slide about the amount of money we spend on food comparing to other countries? It looks obscene and we throw a lot of that food away.

They possibly buy those gears with food stamp cashed at ridiculous rate from your friendly neighborhood’s convenient store.

You really should love a country where the poor people are fat.

The poor, skinny homeless guy who sleeps outside on the bench down the road from me. Not everyone is working the system and living like that, there are still real poor people in the US.

You have no idea what poor really is.

Really poor people in the rest of the world cannot imagine the grandeur of being a poor American.

The main disease of America’s poor is obesity.

Irony. The main problem that our poor people have is too much food, which, historically, has always been considered the blight of the poor (no access to food).

Well, we’re not talking about the rest of the world.

Maybe YOU aren’t, but I am. So technically WE are. Deny it all you want, but most of America’s “poor”, really aren’t.

Also obesity is a significant problem in the South compared to the rest of the country. TX specifically has a huge problem with obesity. In fact 3 of the top 5 fattest cities are in the Lone Star State. You know what they say about TX. . . :shrug:

The poor doesn’t have worry about the rest of the world, but the working people in the US have to compete against the rest of the world every day to keep their jobs.

The stars at night are big and bright?

Oh something’s big alright.

And you know what those cities have in common - large numbers of people on the dole.

PA 28.5% are overweight
TX 30.0% are overweight
MI 30.5% are overweight

I don’t even know what to say to that . . . Except, maybe, . . . Wow!


That’s because if you have $10 to feed a family for a day you can do it at Taco Bell - but not in the produce section of a grocery store. If you don’t believe me try feeding a family of 4 for a month on $300, which is $3600 a year, which over is 10% of an $36,000/yr salary after taxes, which is about what a school teacher makes.


Actually the absolute worst place to eat to stretch your food dollar is to eat out. How you think you can feed a family at Taco Bell cheaper than from a grocery store is beyond me.

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