Monday, September 14, 2009

Who is Poor

An article in the National Review from the Heritage Foundation lists some Census Bureau data about people who are poor in the US.

In short the facts show most poor people in the US have TV, cars, air conditioning and reasonable sized houses.

A couple of thoughts. I agree the poverty measure in the US which is basically 3 times the amount needed to purchase a decent diet, a definition which worked well in the 1960s but not so much now. Since food is much cheaper and incomes higher. The measure also does not control for difference in prices between places like New York City and North Dakota.

I'm not sure facts about TVs and AC is the right way to look at it. Even people who are poor by international standards (live on less than $1 a day) have TVs or radios (from this article)

On the other hand keeping a consistent definition allows comparisons between eras, so I'm not sure the current poverty line measure should be thrown out.

I don't know a lot about American welfare programs to me it comes down to health care access and schools. I think there is also evidence that early childhood intervention can pay off (here)

h/t to Newmark's Door

Bookmark and Share

No comments: