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Poverty Today and in the Past

Go to the following website, www.census.gov, and select Poverty. Then use the information on this site to answer the following questions:

What is the official poverty line?
Is the number of people higher or lower than it was last year? Ten years ago? Why?
How many states had an increase in the poverty rate compared to last year? Why did this happen?
What new programs have been initiated to combat poverty at the state or federal levels?

Solution Preview

The poverty line is based on the size of the household and the number of children. For example, based on the 2009 poverty threshold, a family consisting of two adults and one child would be considered below the poverty line if their income was less than $17,268. For the complete table, see http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/threshld/thresh09.html. The poverty line will be adjusted in August 2010.

The most recent census data, for 2008, indicate that 13.2% of the US population was below the poverty line. Ten years ago, it was 12.7%. The number of people living in poverty is cyclical and depends on the business cycle. The economy was doing fairly well in 1998, but it was in a ...

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