Poverty threshold

The poverty threshold, poverty limit or poverty line is the minimum level of income deemed adequate in a particular country.[1] In practice, like the definition of poverty, the official or common understanding of the poverty line is significantly higher in developed countries than in developing countries.[2][3] In 2008, the World Bank came out with a figure (revised largely due to inflation) of $1.25 a day at 2005 purchasing-power parity (PPP).[4] In October 2015, the World Bank updated the international poverty line to $1.90 a day. The new figure of $1.90 is based on ICP purchasing power parity (PPP) calculations and represents the international equivalent of what $1.90 could buy in the US in 2011. The new IPL replaces the $1.25 per day figure, which used 2005 data.[5] Most scholars agree that it better reflects today's reality, particularly new price levels in developing countries.[6] The common international poverty line has in the past been roughly $1 a day.[7] At present the percentage of the global population living under extreme poverty is likely to fall below 10% according to the World Bank projections released in 2015, although this figure is claimed by scholars to be artificially low due to the effective reduction of the IPL in 2015.[8]

Determining the poverty line is usually done by finding the total cost of all the essential resources that an average human adult consumes in one year.[9] The largest of these expenses is typically the rent required to live in an apartment, so historically, economists have paid particular attention to the real estate market and housing prices as a strong poverty line affector. Individual factors are often used to account for various circumstances, such as whether one is a parent, elderly, a child, married, etc. The poverty threshold may be adjusted annually.

Extreme poverty 1981-2008
Graph of global population living on under 1, 1.25 and 2 equivalent of 2005 US dollars daily (red) and as a proportion of world population (blue) based on 1981–2008 World Bank data


Charles Booth, a pioneering investigator of poverty in London at the turn of the 20th century, popularised the idea of a poverty line, a concept originally conceived by the London School Board.[10] Booth set the line at 10 (50p) to 20 shillings (£1) per week, which he considered to be the minimum amount necessary for a family of four or five people to subsist on.[11] Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree (1871–1954), a British sociological researcher, social reformer and industrialist, surveyed rich families in York, and drew a poverty line in terms of a minimum weekly sum of money "necessary to enable families … to secure the necessaries of a healthy life", which included fuel and light, rent, food, clothing, and household and personal items. Based on data from leading nutritionists of the period, he calculated the cheapest price for the minimum calorific intake and nutritional balance necessary, before people get ill or lose weight. He considered this amount to set his poverty line and concluded that 27.84% of the total population of York lived below this poverty line.[12] This result corresponded with that from Charles Booth's study of poverty in London and so challenged the view, commonly held at the time, that abject poverty was a problem particular to London and was not widespread in the rest of Britain. Rowntree distinguished between primary poverty, those lacking in income and secondary poverty, those who had enough income, but spent it elsewhere (1901:295–96).[12]

Absolute poverty

The term "absolute poverty" is also sometimes used as a synonym for extreme poverty. Absolute poverty is the absence of enough resources to secure basic life necessities.

According to a UN declaration that resulted from the World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995, absolute poverty is "a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education, and information. It depends not only on income, but also on access to services."[13]

David Gordon's paper, "Indicators of Poverty and Hunger", for the United Nations, further defines absolute poverty as the absence of any two of the following eight basic needs:[13]

  • Food: Body mass index must be above 16.
  • Safe drinking water: Water must not come solely from rivers and ponds, and must be available nearby (fewer than 15 minutes' walk each way).
  • Sanitation facilities: Toilets or latrines must be accessible in or near the home.
  • Health: Treatment must be received for serious illnesses and pregnancy.
  • Shelter: Homes must have fewer than four people living in each room. Floors must not be made of soil, mud, or clay.
  • Education: Everyone must attend school or otherwise learn to read.
  • Information: Everyone must have access to newspapers, radios, televisions, computers, or telephones at home.
  • Access to services: This item is undefined by Gordon, but normally is used to indicate the complete panoply of education, health, legal, social, and financial (credit) services.

Basic needs

The basic needs approach is one of the major approaches to the measurement of absolute poverty in developing countries. It attempts to define the absolute minimum resources necessary for long-term physical well-being, usually in terms of consumption goods. The poverty line is then defined as the amount of income required to satisfy those needs. The 'basic needs' approach was introduced by the International Labour Organization's World Employment Conference in 1976.[14][15] "Perhaps the high point of the WEP was the World Employment Conference of 1976, which proposed the satisfaction of basic human needs as the overiding objective of national and international development policy. The basic needs approach to development was endorsed by governments and workers' and employers' organizations from all over the world. It influenced the programmes and policies of major multilateral and bilateral development agencies, and was the precursor to the human development approach."[14][15]

A traditional list of immediate "basic needs" is food (including water), shelter, and clothing.[16] Many modern lists emphasize the minimum level of consumption of 'basic needs' of not just food, water, and shelter, but also sanitation, education, and health care. Different agencies use different lists.

In 1978, Ghai investigated the literature that criticized the basic needs approach. Critics argued that the basic needs approach lacked scientific rigour; it was consumption-oriented and antigrowth. Some considered it to be "a recipe for perpetuating economic backwardness" and for giving the impression "that poverty elimination is all too easy".[17] Amartya Sen focused on 'capabilities' rather than consumption.

In the development discourse, the basic needs model focuses on the measurement of what is believed to be an eradicable level of poverty.

Relative poverty

Relative poverty means low income relative to others in a country; for example, below 60% of the median income of people in that country. It is the "most useful measure for ascertaining poverty rates in wealthy developed nations".[18][19][20][21][22] Relative poverty measure is used by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Canadian poverty researchers.[18][19][20][21][22] In the European Union, the "relative poverty measure is the most prominent and most–quoted of the EU social inclusion indicators."[23]

"Relative poverty reflects better the cost of social inclusion and equality of opportunity in a specific time and space."[24]

"Once economic development has progressed beyond a certain minimum level, the rub of the poverty problem – from the point of view of both the poor individual and of the societies in which they live – is not so much the effects of poverty in any absolute form but the effects of the contrast, daily perceived, between the lives of the poor and the lives of those around them. For practical purposes, the problem of poverty in the industrialized nations today is a problem of relative poverty (page 9)."[24][25]

However, some have argued that as relative poverty is merely a measure of inequality, using the term 'poverty' for it is misleading. For example, if everyone in a country's income doubled, it would not reduce the amount of 'relative poverty' at all.

History of the concept of relative poverty

In 1776, Adam Smith argued that poverty is the inability to afford "not only the commodities which are indispensably necessary for the support of life, but whatever the custom of the country renders it indecent for creditable people, even of the lowest order, to be without."[26][27]

In 1958, John Kenneth Galbraith argued, "People are poverty stricken when their income, even if adequate for survival, falls markedly behind that of their community."[27][28]

In 1964, in a joint committee economic President's report in the United States, Republicans endorsed the concept of relative poverty: "No objective definition of poverty exists. ... The definition varies from place to place and time to time. In America as our standard of living rises, so does our idea of what is substandard."[27][29]

In 1965, Rose Friedman argued for the use of relative poverty claiming that the definition of poverty changes with general living standards. Those labelled as poor in 1995, would have had "a higher standard of living than many labelled not poor" in 1965.[27][30]

In 1979, British sociologist, Peter Townsend published his famous definition: "individuals... can be said to be in poverty when they lack the resources to obtain the types of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and amenities which are customary, or are at least widely encouraged or approved, in the societies to which they belong (page 31)."[31]

Brian Nolan and Christopher T. Whelan of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in Ireland explained that "poverty has to be seen in terms of the standard of living of the society in question."[32]

Relative poverty measures are used as official poverty rates by the European Union, UNICEF and the OEDC. The main poverty line used in the OECD and the European Union is based on "economic distance", a level of income set at 60% of the median household income.[33]

Relative poverty compared with other standards

A measure of relative poverty defines "poverty" as being below some relative poverty threshold. For example, the statement that "those individuals who are employed and whose household equivalised disposable income is below 60% of national median equivalised income are poor" uses a relative measure to define poverty.[34]

The term relative poverty can also be used in a different sense to mean "moderate poverty" – for example, a standard of living or level of income that is high enough to satisfy basic needs (like water, food, clothing, housing, and basic health care), but still significantly lower than that of the majority of the population under consideration.[35]

National poverty lines

Percent Poverty World Map
2008 CIA World Factbook-based map showing the percentage of population by country living below that country's official poverty line

National estimates are based on population-weighted subgroup estimates from household surveys. Definitions of the poverty line do vary considerably among nations. For example, rich nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poor nations. Even among rich nations, the standards differ greatly. Thus, the numbers are not comparable among countries. Even when nations do use the same method, some issues may remain.[36]

In United States, the poverty thresholds are updated every year by Census Bureau. The threshold in United States are updated and used for statistical purposes. In 2015, in the United States, the poverty threshold for a single person under 65 was an annual income of US$11,770; the threshold for a family group of four, including two children, was US$24,250.[37][38] According to the U.S. Census Bureau data released on 13 September 2011, the nation's poverty rate rose to 15.1 percent in 2010.

In the UK, "more than five million people – over a fifth (23 percent) of all employees – were paid less than £6.67 an hour in April 2006. This value is based on a low pay rate of 60 percent of full-time median earnings, equivalent to a little over £12,000 a year for a 35-hour working week. In April 2006, a 35-hour week would have earned someone £9,191 a year – before tax or National Insurance".[39][40]

India's official poverty level as of 2005, on the other hand, is split according to rural versus urban thresholds. For urban dwellers, the poverty line is defined as living on less than 538.60 rupees (approximately US$12) per month, whereas for rural dwellers, it is defined as living on less than 356.35 rupees per month (approximately US$7.50).[41]

Wealth inequality

Poverty is impacted through wealth inequality, while the rich are getting richer the poor are losing even more.[42] Wealth facilitates the continuation of economic inequality, the lowest quintile of Americans only own less than 1 percent of all wealth in America while the top quintile owns 60 percent of the wealth.[43] Wealth inequality is more extreme and a larger indicator of financial well being than income inequality, this means it impacts people in poverty even more.[43] People in poverty do not have the access to resources that in the upper quintile do, such as stocks, investments, multiple houses, stable jobs, and better education.[43] Stocks are a good example of this, while 94.9 of the top 1 percent own stocks only 20.8 percent of the bottom 20 percent of Americans own stock.[43] This inequality of access allows for wealth inequality to grow and continue to impact those in poverty.[44]

Women and children

Women and children find themselves impacted by poverty more often than men, most specifically when apart of single mother families.[45] This is due to the feminization of poverty, how the poverty rate of women has increasingly exceeded that of mens.[46] While the overall poverty rate is 12.3%, women are 13.8% likely to fall into poverty and men are below the overall rate at 11.1%.[47][45] Most women if they fall into poverty because of the expectation that they will be taking care of children while trying to maintain their jobs, because of the expectation that women will be with kids they are segregated into lower paying jobs than male counterparts.[48] Along with being put into lower paying jobs women do more unpaid work for their children than men do.[45] This is how the percent of single mothers has risen to 34%, much above the national rate.[49] Women and children (as single mother families) find themselves as apart of low class communities because they are 21.6% more likely to fall into poverty.[49]

Racial minorities

Racial minorities have been a large part of American history. A minority group is defined as “a category of people who experience relative disadvantage as compared to members of a dominant social group.”[50] Minorities are traditionally separated into the following groups: African Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics.[51] They must be accounted for when discussing the poverty line in the U.S. in 2018 because the majority of America's population consists of immigrants.[52] According to the current U.S. Poverty statistics, Black Americans - 21%, Foreign born non-citizens - 19%, Hispanic Americans - 18%, and  Adults with a disability - 25%.[53] This does not include all minority groups, but these groups alone account for 85% of people under the poverty line in the United States.[54] Whites have a poverty rate of 8.7%; the poverty rate is more than double for Black and Hispanic Americans.[55]

Impacts on education

Living below the poverty threshold can have a major impact on a child’s education.[56] The psychological stresses induced by poverty may affect a student’s ability to perform well academically.[56] In addition, the risk of poor health is more prevalent for those living in poverty.[56] Health issues commonly affect the extent to which one can continue and fully take advantage of his or her education.[56] Poor students in the United States are more likely to dropout of school at some point in their education.[56] Research has also found that children living in poverty perform poorly academically and have lower cognitive abilities.[56] Impoverished children also display more behavioral issues than others.[56] Schools in impoverished communities usually do not receive much funding, which can also set their students apart from those living in more affluent neighborhoods.[56] Even upward mobility that brings a child out of poverty may not have a significant positive impact on his or her education; inadequate academic habits that form as early as preschool typically do not improve despite changes in socioeconomic status.[56]

Impacts on healthcare

The nation’s poverty threshold is issued by the Census Bureau.[57] According to the Office of Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation the threshold is statistically relevant and can be a solid predictor of people in poverty.[57] The reasoning for using Federal Poverty Level, FPL, is due to its action for distributive purposes under the direction of Health and Human Services. So FPL is a tool derived from the threshold but can be used to show eligibility for certain federal programs.[57] Federal poverty levels have direct effects on individual’s healthcare. In the past years and into the present government, the use of the poverty threshold has consequences for such programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.[58]  The benefits which different families are eligible for are contingent on FPL. The FPL, in turn is calculated based on federal numbers from the previous year.[58] The benefits and qualifications for federal programs are dependent on number of people on a plan and the income of the total group.[58] For 2019, the U.S Department of health & Human Services enumerate what the line is for different families. For a single person, the line is $12,490 and up to $43,430 for a family of 8, in the lower 48 states.[57] Another issue is reduced-cost coverage. These reductions are based on income relative to FPL, and work in connection with public health services such as Medicaid.[59] The divisions of FPL percentages are nominally, above 400%, below 138% and below 100% of the FPL.[59] After the advent of the American Care Act, Medicaid was expanded on states bases.[59] For example, enrolling in the ACA kept the benefits of Medicaid when the  income was up to 138% of the FPL.[59]

Poverty mobility and healthcare

Health Affairs along with analysis by Georgetown found that public assistance does counteract poverty threats between 2010 and 2015.[60] In regards to Medicaid, child poverty is decreased by 5.3%, and Hispanic and Black poverty by 6.1% and 4.9% respectively.[60] The reduction of family poverty also has the highest decrease with Medicaid over other public assistance programs.[60] Expanding state Medicaid decreased the amount individuals paid by an average of $42, while it increased the costs to $326 for people not in expanded states. The same study analyzed showed 2.6 million people were kept out of poverty by the effects of Medicaid.[60] From a 2013-2015 study, expansion states showed a smaller gap in health insurance between households making below $25,000 and above $75,000.[61] Expansion also significantly reduced the gap of having a primary care physician between impoverished and higher income individuals.[61] In terms of education level and employment, health insurance differences were also reduced.[61] Non-expansion also showed poor residents went from a 22% chance of being uninsured to 66% from 2013 to 2015.[61]

Poverty dynamics

Living above or below the poverty threshold is not necessarily a position in which an individual remains static.[62] As many as one in three impoverished people were not poor at birth; rather, they descended into poverty over the course of their life.[56] Additionally, a study which analyzed data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) found that nearly 40% of 20-year-olds received food stamps at some point before they turned 65.[63] This indicates that many Americans will dip below the poverty line sometime during adulthood, but will not necessarily remain there for the rest of their life.[63] Furthermore, 44% of individuals who are given transfer benefits (other than Social Security) in one year do not receive them the next.[62] Over 90% of Americans who receive transfers from the government stop receiving them within 10 years, indicating that the population living below the poverty threshold is in flux and does not remain constant.[62]


Using a poverty threshold is problematic because having an income slightly above or below is not substantially different; the negative effects of poverty tend to be continuous rather than discrete, and the same low income affects different people in different ways. To overcome this problem, a poverty index or indices can be used instead; see income inequality metrics.

A poverty threshold relies on a quantitative, or purely numbers-based, measure of income. If other human development-indicators like health and education are used, they must be quantified, which is not a simple (if even achievable) task.

Using a single monetary poverty threshold is problematic when applied worldwide, due to the difficulty of comparing prices between countries. Prices of the same goods vary dramatically from country to country; while this is typically corrected for by using purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates, the basket of goods used to determine such rates is usually unrepresentative of the poor, most of whose expenditure is on basic foodstuffs rather than the relatively luxurious items (washing machines, air travel, healthcare) often included in PPP baskets. The economist Robert C. Allen has attempted to solve this by using standardized baskets of goods typical of those bought by the poor across countries and historical time, for example including a fixed calorific quantity of the cheapest local grain (such as corn, rice, or oats).

Understating poverty

In addition to wage and salary income, investment income and government transfers such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps) and housing subsidies are included in a household's income. Studies measuring the differences between income before and after taxes and government transfers, have found that without social support programs, poverty would be roughly 30% to 40% higher than the official poverty line indicates.[64][65]

Further, the U.S. Census Bureau calculates the poverty line the same throughout the U.S. regardless of the cost-of-living in a state or urban area. For instance, the cost-of-living in California, the most populous state, was 42% greater than the U.S. average in 2010, while the cost-of-living in Texas, the second-most populous state, was 10% less than the U.S. average. In 2017, California had the highest poverty rate in the country when housing costs are factored in, a measure calculated by the Census Bureau known as "the supplemental poverty measure".[66]

See also


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Further reading

  • Shweparde, Jon; Robert W. Greene (2003). Sociology and You. Ohio: Glencoe McGraw-Hill. p. A-22. ISBN 978-0-07-828576-9. Archived from the original on 8 March 2010.
  • Alan Gillie, "The Origin of the Poverty Line", Economic History Review, XLIX/4 (1996), 726
  • Villemez, Wayne J. (2001). "Poverty". Encyclopedia of Sociology (PDF). New York: Gale Virtual Reference Library.

External links

American lower class

In the United States, the lower class are those at or near the lower end of the socio-economic hierarchy. As with all social classes in the United States, the lower class is loosely defined and its boundaries and definitions subject to debate and ambiguous popular opinions. Sociologists such as W. Lloyd Warner, Dennis Gilbert and James Henslin divide the lower classes into two. The contemporary division used by Gilbert divides the lower class into the working poor and underclass. Service and low-rung manual laborers are commonly identified as being among the working poor. Those who do not participate in the labor force and rely on public assistance as their main source of income are commonly identified as members of the underclass. Overall the term describes those in easily filled employment positions with little prestige or economic compensation who often lack a high school education and are to some extent disenfranchised from mainstream society.Estimates for how many households are members of this class vary with definition. According to Dennis Gilbert roughly one quarter, 25%, of US households were in the lower classes; 13% were members among the working poor while 12% were members of the underclass. While many in the lower working class are employed in low-skill service jobs, lack of participation in the labor force remains the main cause for the economic plight experienced by those in the lower classes. In 2005, the majority of households (56%) in the bottom income quintile had no income earners while 65% of householders did not work. This contrasts starkly to households in the top quintile, 76% of whom had two or more income earners.Lacking educational attainment as well as disabilities are among the main causes for the infrequent employment. Many households rise above or fall below the poverty threshold, depending on the employment status of household members. While only about 12% of households fall below the poverty threshold at one point in time, the percentage of those who fall below the poverty line at any one point throughout a year is much higher. Working class as well as working poor households may fall below the poverty line if an income earner becomes unemployed. In any given year roughly one out of every five (20%) households falls below the poverty line at some point while up to 40% may fall into poverty within the course of a decade.

Basic needs

The basic needs approach is one of the major approaches to the measurement of absolute poverty in developing countries. It attempts to define the absolute minimum resources necessary for long-term physical well-being, usually in terms of consumption goods. The poverty line is then defined as the amount of income required to satisfy those needs. The 'basic needs' approach was introduced by the International Labour Organization's World Employment Conference in 1976. "Perhaps the high point of the WEP was the World Employment Conference of 1976, which proposed the satisfaction of basic human needs as the overriding objective of national and international development policy. The basic needs approach to development was endorsed by governments and workers’ and employers’ organizations from all over the world. It influenced the programmes and policies of major multilateral and bilateral development agencies, and was the precursor to the human development approach."A traditional list of immediate "basic needs" is food (including water), shelter and clothing. Many modern lists emphasize the minimum level of consumption of 'basic needs' of not just food, water, clothing and shelter, but also sanitation, education, healthcare, and internet. Different agencies use different lists.

The basic needs approach has been described as consumption-oriented, giving the impression "that poverty elimination is all too easy." Amartya Sen focused on 'capabilities' rather than consumption.

In the development discourse, the basic needs model focuses on the measurement of what is believed to be an eradicable level of poverty. Development programs following the basic needs approach do not invest in economically productive activities that will help a society carry its own weight in the future, rather it focuses on allowing the society to consume just enough to rise above the poverty line and meet its basic needs. These programs focus more on subsistence than fairness. Nevertheless, in terms of "measurement", the basic needs or absolute approach is important. The 1995 world summit on social development in Copenhagen had, as one of its principal declarations that all nations of the world should develop measures of both absolute and relative poverty and should gear national policies to "eradicate absolute poverty by a target date specified by each country in its national context."

Child poverty

Child poverty refers to the state of children living in poverty. This applies to children that come from poor families or orphans being raised with limited, or in some cases absent, state resources. Children that fail to meet the minimum acceptable standard of the nation where that child lives are said to be poor. In developing countries, these standards are lower and when combined with the increased number of orphans the effects are more extreme


A deficit is the amount by which a sum falls short of some reference amount.


The "disadvantaged" is a generic term for individuals or groups of people who:

Face special problems such as physical or mental disability

Lack money or economic support

Foster–Greer–Thorbecke indices

The Foster–Greer–Thorbecke indices are a family of poverty metrics. The most commonly used index from the family, FGT2, puts higher weight on the poverty of the poorest individuals, making it a combined measure of poverty and income inequality and a popular choice within development economics. The indices were introduced in a 1984 paper by economists Erik Thorbecke, Joel Greer, and James Foster.

The individual indices within the family are derived by substituting different values of the parameter α into the following equation:

where z is the poverty threshold, N is the number of people in the economy, H is the number of poor (those with incomes at or below z), yi is the income of each individual i. If is low then the FGT metric weights all the individuals with incomes below z roughly the same. The higher the value of α, the greater the weight place on the poorest individuals. The higher the FGT statistic, the more poverty there is in an economy.

Housing stress

Housing stress describes a situation where the cost of housing (either as rental, or as a mortgage) is high relative to household income. It may also be used to describe inadequate housing for a proportion of the population.

As a rule of thumb, a household spending 30 per cent or more of its income can be considered under housing stress, and under "extreme" housing stress if spending exceeds 50 percent. Other studies may apply a different threshold, or restrict its definition to households with below average income. The Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture classifies counties as under housing stress" if 30 percent or more of its housing units meets one or more of the following criteria: lacked complete plumbing, lacked complete kitchens, paid 30 per cent or more for owner costs or rent, or had more than one person per room.

Income deficit

Income deficit is the difference between a single person or family's income and its poverty threshold or poverty line, when the former is exceeded by the latter. Data on the income deficits of various members of a population allow for the construction of one type of measurement of income inequality in that population. Individuals or families that fall below the line are considered to be in poverty whereas families that fall above are not. The income deficit is one of two measures that are used to determine a person or family's income distance from the poverty threshold, the other being a ratio rather than a difference.

Laeken indicators

The Laeken indicators is a set of common European statistical indicators on poverty and social exclusion, established at the European Council of December 2001 in the Brussels suburb of Laeken, Belgium. They were developed as part of the Lisbon Strategy, of the previous year, which envisioned the coordination of European social policies at country level based on a set of common goals.

Poverty in France

Poverty in France has fallen by 60% over thirty years. Although it affected 15% of the population in 1970, in 2001 only 6.1% (or 3.7 million people) were below the poverty line (which, according to INSEE's criteria, is half of the median income).

In the mid-Sixties, Jules Klanfer estimated that about 20% of the French population lived in poverty. Lionel Stoleru, in “The fight against poverty in the rich countries,” estimated that 20% of the population lived in poverty in the early Seventies, while Rene Lenior in “The Outsiders” put the figure at 15 %. An OECD study from the early Seventies estimated that 16% of the French population lived in poverty, compared with 13% in the United States, 11% in Canada, 7.5% in the United Kingdom, and 3% in Germany. Other national estimates at the time were 13% (the United States), 11% (Canada), 8% (Australia), 5% (Norway), and 3.5% (Sweden).In 1975, a basic tax-free cash allowance starting at £665 for children under the age of ten provided a considerable amount of support for families living on low incomes, and its combination with direct taxation meant greater support to poor families than in any other country in the EEC. A two-parent family with four dependent children on 66% of average earnings gained an amount after tax and allowances equal to 49.4% of its income compared with 8.2% in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, that same year, INSEE found that at any wage level disposable income per head was still much lower in large families than those with no or very few children, while the cost of bringing up a family weighed particularly heavily on households headed by a low-paid worker. According to one estimate from the early Seventies, using 1500 francs net per month for those in full-time employment 44% of women and 24.5% of men were low paid. The percentage of workers who were low paid was particularly high in personal services such as hairdressing (74%), hotel and catering (60%) and textiles (51%).In comparison with average French workers, foreign workers tended to be employed in the hardest and lowest-paid jobs and live in poor conditions. A 1972 study found that foreign workers earned 17% less than their French counterparts, although this national average concealed the extent of inequality because foreign workers were more likely to be men in their prime working years in the industrial areas, which generally had higher rates of pay than elsewhere.In 1974, the National Assembly’s Commission on Cultural, Family and Social Affairs estimated that 5% of the population should be considered as “living in a state of destitution or on the borderline of destitution”. Studies by Serge Milano, Lionel Stoleru, and Rene Lenoir estimated that between 10% and 14% of the population lived in poverty from 1970 to 1980. A report by the EEC estimated that 14.8% of households in France lived in poverty in 1975, defined as living below the threshold of 50% mean annual income. In 1987, it was estimated that 2 million people in France lived in extreme poverty.Previously, the poor were for the most part retirees. The trend reversed itself in the 1980s with an increase in unemployment among young people; while poverty among the elderly dropped 85% (from 27.3% to 3.8%), among those still in the workforce it increased by 38% over the same 30 years (from 3.9% to 5.4%). Various social welfare programs have had an important impact in low-income households, and in 2002, they may in some cases have represented more than 50% of the household's income.In 2008, the OECD claimed that France was "one of only five OECD countries where income inequality and poverty have declined over the past 20 years".As a result of the European migrant crisis, beginning in 2015, makeshift and squalid migrant camps have begun regularly appearing around the capital city with French officials routinely clearing and dismantling them as of October 2016. Such camps are also becoming a common occurrence in Northern France, along the coast of La Manche, which migrants hope to cross in an attempt to reach Britain. The Calais Jungle is perhaps the best known example of this.

Poverty in the Philippines

The poverty line for 2014 marked a per capita income of 100,534 pesos a year. According to the data from the National Statistical Coordination Board, more than one-quarter of the population fell below the poverty line the first semester of 2014, an approximate 78 percent increase since 2013.The country’s poverty incidence for the whole of 2015 declined to 21.6 percent from 25.2 percent in 2012 and 26.3 percent in 2009, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported.

The decrease in poverty has been rapid and continuous, compared with broadly similar numbers in the 1980s, such as People's Republic of China (PRC), Thailand, Indonesia or Vietnam. National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) deputy director general Rosemarie Edillon attributed this to a generally low and stable inflation, improved incomes and higher employment rates during the period.The government planned to eradicate poverty as stated in the Philippines Development Plan 2011–2016 (PDP). The PDP for those six years are an annual economic growth of 7–8% and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Under the MDGs, Philippines committed itself to halving extreme poverty from a level of 33.1% in 1991 to 16.6% by 2015.

Poverty in the United States

Poverty in the United States covers the subsection of people of the United States that are in a state of deprivation, lacking the usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. It is usually understood as a relative measure of poverty within the United States which is a relatively wealthy country by international standards. The most common measure of poverty in the U.S. is the "poverty threshold" set by the U.S. government. This measure recognizes poverty as a lack of those goods and services commonly taken for granted by members of mainstream society. The official threshold is adjusted for inflation using the consumer price index.

Estimates of the number of people in the United States living in poverty are nuanced. One organization estimated that in 2015, 13.5% of Americans (43.1 million) lived in poverty. Yet other scholars underscore the number of people in the United States living in "near-poverty," putting the number at around 100 million, or nearly a third of the U.S. population. Starting in the 1930s, relative poverty rates have consistently exceeded those of other wealthy nations. The lowest poverty rates are found in New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota and Nebraska, which have between 8.7% and 9.1% of their population living in poverty.As of 2009, the number of people who were in poverty was approaching 1960s levels that led to the national War on Poverty. In 2011 extreme poverty in the United States, meaning households living on less than $2 per day before government benefits, was double 1996 levels at 1.5 million households, including 2.8 million children. In 2012, the percentage of seniors living in poverty was 14% while 18% of children were. The addition of Social Security benefits contributed more to reduce poverty than any other factor.The 2010 census data shows that half the population qualifies as poor or low income, with one in five Millennials living in poverty. Academic contributors to The Routledge Handbook of Poverty in the United States postulate that new and extreme forms of poverty have emerged in the U.S. as a result of neoliberal structural adjustment policies and globalization, which have rendered economically marginalized communities as destitute "surplus populations" in need of control and punishment.In 2011, child poverty reached record high levels, with 16.7 million children living in food insecure households, about 35% more than 2007 levels. A 2013 UNICEF report ranked the U.S. as having the second highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world. According to a 2016 study by the Urban Institute, teenagers in low income communities are often forced to join gangs, save school lunches, sell drugs or exchange sexual favors because they cannot afford food.There were about 643,000 sheltered and unsheltered Homelessness in the United States in January 2009. Almost two-thirds stayed in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program and the other third were living on the street, in an abandoned building, or another place not meant for human habitation. About 1.56 million people, or about 0.5% of the U.S. population, used an emergency shelter or a transitional housing program between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009. Around 44% of homeless people are employed. As of 2018, the number of U.S. citizens living in their vehicles because they cannot find affordable housing is on the rise, particularly in cities with steep increases in the cost of living such as Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon and San Francisco.As of June 2016, the IMF warned the United States that its high poverty rate needs to be tackled urgently by raising the minimum wage and offering paid maternity leave to women to encourage them to enter the labor force. In December 2017, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, undertook a two-week investigation on the effects of systemic poverty in the United States, and sharply condemned "private wealth and public squalor", declaring the state of Alabama to have the "worst poverty in the developed world". Alston's report was issued in May 2018 and highlights that 40 million people live in poverty and over five million live "in ‘Third World’ conditions."

Poverty thresholds (United States Census Bureau)

For statistical purposes (e.g., counting the poor population), the United States Census Bureau uses a set of annual income levels, the poverty thresholds, slightly different from the federal poverty guidelines. As with the poverty guidelines, they represent a federal government estimate of the point below which a household of a given size has pre-tax cash income insufficient to meet minimal food and other basic needs.

Poverty thresholds were originally developed in 1963–64, based largely on estimates of the minimal cost of food needs, to measure changes in the impoverished population. The thresholds form the basis for calculating the poverty guidelines and, like them, are adjusted annually for overall inflation. The same threshold is used throughout the United States and does not vary based on geographical location.

There are 48 possible poverty thresholds that a family can be assigned to, which vary based on the family size and the age of its members.

If a family's total income before taxes is below the poverty threshold, that family is in poverty, and all members of that family have the same poverty status. The same applies for a single individual. The poverty threshold is used by federal organizations, including the United States Census Bureau, but government aid programs do not have to use the threshold as a standard to determine eligibility.

Reduced-price meal

Reduced-price meal is a term used in the United States to describe a federally reimbursable meal, or snack, served to a qualified child when the family of the child's income is between 130 and 185 percent of the US federal poverty threshold. Schools may not charge more than US$0.40 for reduced-price lunches, nor more than US$0.30 for reduced-price breakfasts.

Potential effectiveness of the program has been reduced by students' selective consumption of meal servings. In 2014 the journal Public Health Nutrition wrote: "Plate waste was estimated from 899 lunch trays; 535 elementary and 364 middle-school students. Only 45% of elementary and 34% middle-school students selected a vegetable. Elementary-school students wasted more than a third of grain, fruit and vegetable menu items. Middle-school students left nearly 50% of fresh fruit, 37% of canned fruit and nearly a third of vegetables unconsumed. Less than half of the students met the national meal standards for vitamins A and C, or Fe."

Salisbury, New Hampshire

Salisbury is a town in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,382 at the 2010 census.

Social Planning Toronto

Social Planning Toronto is a non-profit community organization, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that works to improve equity, social justice and quality of life for residents through community capacity building, community education and advocacy, policy research and analysis, and social reporting. The organization has conducted research and advocacy concerning inclusionary zoning, equitable use of city recreational spaces, the Ontario Human Rights Code policy on discrimination based on creed, and responses to the City's budget process.The organization holds public forums for suggestions on what issues to prioritize.Social Planning Toronto released the first poverty profiles for all 44 wards of Toronto, on 7 June 2012, which it declared "Destitution Day" because that was the approximate date when a person on welfare would run out of money if living at the poverty threshold.

Welfare state in Cyprus

In 2014, the Cyprus Guaranteed Minimum Income and Social Benefits Law was passed to replace the previous Public Assistance and Service Law. It covers all EU citizens and also long-term residents with legal status, and its main intention is to shelter those with higher risk of poverty and to guarantee the recipients with basic standard of living.

All EU citizens and Cypriots are applicable to the program if they have lived in Cyprus for more than five years before the application and will continue to reside there. Similar with conservative welfare states, Cyprus’s Minimum Income (MI) Law adopted the principle of subsidiarity, which means that family unit must serve as the first defending line for individuals. For Cyprus’s MI Law, eligibility for help is based on the total needs of a family unit. A family is qualified for benefits as long as its total income cannot satisfy its total need. Additionally, property ownership is also calculated based on family unit. The assumption is that members inside a family must collaborate and help each other. Only when they together as a social unit cannot afford to live well would the state came to help as the last-resort safety net. Moreover, the basic income value for a person that has zero income reported is set €480 per month, which is more than half of the respective poverty threshold. The value is set in an ad hoc basis to adapt to varying levels of national income and inflation.Benefits of Cyprus’s MI Law are given based on means testing. Potential recipients need to apply and demonstrate that they have certifiable needs, and that they’re really out of means except government support. To truly distribute benefits to those that need them the most, the Cyprus’s MI Law sets an age limit (above 28 years old) to eliminate young people who’re not earning much but are enjoying high standard of living with their parents from the list beneficiaries. It also has an activation strategy aimed to encourage the unemployed to actively seek jobs. Recipients would be required to accept available jobs in their relative fields, and those who’re unemployed voluntarily would be excluded from the program.

Working poor

The working poor are working people whose incomes fall below a given poverty line due to lack of work hours and/or low wages.

Largely because they are earning such low wages, the working poor face numerous obstacles that make it difficult for many of them to find and keep a job, save up money, and maintain a sense of self-worth.The official working poverty rate in the US has remained relatively static over the past four decades, but many social scientists argue that the official rate is set too low, and that the proportion of workers facing significant financial hardship has instead increased over the years. Changes in the economy, especially the shift from a

manufacturing-based to a service-based economy, have resulted in the polarization of the labor market. This means that there are more jobs at the top and the bottom of the income spectrum, but fewer jobs in the middle.There are a wide range of anti-poverty policies that have been shown to improve the situation of the working poor. Research suggests that increasing welfare state generosity is the most effective way to reduce poverty and working poverty.

Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta

The Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta is a river delta located where the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers empty into the Bering Sea on the west coast of the U.S. state of Alaska. At approximately 129,500 square kilometers (50,000 sq mi) in size, it is one of the largest deltas in the world. It is larger than the Mississippi River Delta (which varies between 32,400 and 122,000 square kilometers (12,500 and 47,100 sq mi)), and comparable in size to the entire U.S. state of Louisiana (135,700 square kilometers (52,400 sq mi)). The delta, which consists mostly of tundra, is protected as part of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.

The delta has approximately 25,000 residents. 85% of these are Alaska Natives: Yupik Eskimos and Athabaskan Indians. The main population center and service hub is the city of Bethel, with an estimated population of around 6,219 (as of 2011). Bethel is surrounded by 49 smaller villages, with the largest villages consisting of over 1,000 people. Most residents live a traditional subsistence lifestyle of hunting, fishing, and gathering. More than 30 percent have cash incomes well below the federal poverty threshold.

The area has virtually no roads; travel is by Bush plane, or by river boats in summer and snowmachines in winter.

Bethel is the location of the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center.

Deprivation and poverty indicators
Complex measures

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