Looking at the Census Bureau’s Definition of Poverty.
Today, the Census Bureau will release its annual poverty report. It will almost certainly report that over 40 million Americans “live in poverty.”
But what does it mean to be poor in America? To the average American, the word “poverty” suggests significant material deprivation. But the actual living conditions of those the government defines as poor differ greatly from this perception.
According to the government’s own reports, the typical American defined as poor by the Census Bureau has a car, air conditioning, and cable or satellite TV. Half of the poor have computers, 43 percent have Internet, and 40 percent have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 4 percent of poor children were hungry for even a single day in the prior year because the family could not afford food. By its own report, the average poor person had sufficient funds to meet all essential needs and was able to obtain medical care for his family throughout the year whenever needed.
The left likes to claim that the U.S. has far more poverty than other advanced nations. But those claims are based on comparisons that set a higher standard for escaping poverty in the U.S. than elsewhere.
When a single uniform standard is used, the U.S. is shown to have poverty rates that are very similar to other advanced nations, slightly higher or lower depending on the exact measure used.