Poverty

When compared with other industrialized nations, the United States far from an impoverished country. Except for an occasional bag lady, street bum, or panhandler, poverty in the United States is not ordinarily very vis-

Earnings -Unemployment comp Workers' comp Social Security SSI

Public assistance Veterans' benefits Suvivors' benefits-Disability benefits -Pensions Interest Dividends Rents, royalties, etc.

Education Child support Alimony Financial assistance Other income

160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Income Recipients (MiIIions)

5 10 15 20 25 30 Mean income($1000)

Figure 10-2 Number of recipients and mean incomes in the United States in 1995 by source. (Based on data from U.S. Bureau of the Census, September 1996.)

160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Income Recipients (MiIIions)

5 10 15 20 25 30 Mean income($1000)

Figure 10-2 Number of recipients and mean incomes in the United States in 1995 by source. (Based on data from U.S. Bureau of the Census, September 1996.)

ible. This is in sharp contrast to the situation in the 1930s, when the streets and highways were full of people who were down on their luck and begging for a dime.

The official definition of poverty now employed by the U.S. Government includes a set of money income thresholds, varying with the size and composition of the family. The definition is based on money income alone and does not include capital gains, the value of noncash benefits such as health insurance, food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, or public housing. Families or individuals whose income is below their appropriate poverty thresholds are designated as poor (Baugher & Lamison-White, 1996).

According to the official definition, 36.4 million people in the United States, or 13.8% of the total population, were classified as poor in 1995. As shown in Figure 10-3, the number of poor people in this country varies with ethnicity, age, geographical region, location of residence, and nativity. In 1995, the poverty rate was 8.5% for non-Hispanic whites, 14.6% for Asian/ Pacific Islanders, 29.3% for blacks, and 30.3% for Hispanics. However, the largest percentage (45%) of all poor people were non-Hispanic whites.

The under-18 age group has both a larger number and a larger percentage

Race/Ethnicity: White (non-Hispanic) Blacki

Asian/Pacific Islander Hispanic

Residence: Central cities : Suburbs i Non-metropolitan,

Nativity: I Native Foreign born

65 and over

Region: Northeast. Midwest South 1

Under 18

West;

Race/Ethnicity: White (non-Hispanic) Blacki

Asian/Pacific Islander Hispanic

Residence: Central cities : Suburbs i Non-metropolitan,

Nativity: I Native Foreign born

65 and over

Region: Northeast. Midwest South 1

Under 18

West;

Number in Poverty (Millions) Percentage in Poverty

Figure 10-3 Number and percentages of U.S. residents living in poverty in the United States in 1995 by race, age, region, residence, and nativity. (Based on data from Baugher & Lamison-White, 1996.)

Number in Poverty (Millions) Percentage in Poverty

Figure 10-3 Number and percentages of U.S. residents living in poverty in the United States in 1995 by race, age, region, residence, and nativity. (Based on data from Baugher & Lamison-White, 1996.)

of poor people than any other age group. More than one American child in five is now classified as being below the official poverty level. The age group containing the second largest number of poor people is 60-64, but the percentage of poor is higher in the 18-24, 25-34, and 65 and over age groups. With regard to geographical region, both the largest number and the largest percentage of poor people live in the South, followed by the West. Central cities contain a greater number and a greater percentage of poor people than suburban and nonmetropolitan areas. The number of poor people is higher in the suburbs than in nonmetropolitan areas, but the converse is true for the percentage of poor people. Finally, although a large majority of poor people in the United States are native-born, the percentage who are poor is higher for foreign-born than native-born Americans (Baugher & Lamison-White, 1996).

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