Talk:Poverty threshold

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Faulty Poverty Line[edit]

The editors refuse to make this article more accurate. The article supports the myth which holds poverty in place. Without realizing the controdicary nature of both statements, the author seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth when he says, "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. This approach is needs-based in that an assessment is made of the minimum expenditure needed to maintain a tolerable life. This was the original basis of the poverty line in the United States, whose calculation was simplified to be based solely on the cost of food and is updated each year."

How is taking the cost of "one item esstenial to life" and using just that-the same, but simplier, than adding up All needs, as rent recreation, health care,car payments, household repair? Those two ideas are in conflict.

The cost of Living takes into account most items for a tolerable life-That should become the new poverty level. Only when that happens will this article be correct.

This is common sense, saying the US orginal basis for the poverty line is based on the full need model. Then saying The poverty line is based on only food costs,contradicts each other. You are comparing full needs accessment with a 1 in 10 needs accessment. That is akin to comparing apples to pizza, and saying the pizza is the "Simplified, verison of apples."

Those in poverty has it bad enough, without Wikipedia, throwing junk opur way. Janshouse (talk) 17:46, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia's job is just to report what is, not not advocate for fixing this (clearly broken) measurement. The original work looked at all the costs required to keep body and soul together -- decades ago, and with several sweeping assumptions (like you don't need a car, because if you're working, then you can walk to work, and you don't need much health care, because all physicians take a few charity cases and no unbelievably expensive miracle drugs exist).
After looking at all the costs, the formula got simplified down to a single-variable formula: the cheapest way to get enough calories, times about three. At the time, this wasn't entirely busted, although it wasn't perfect. The current problems are well known and recognized by everyone, including the woman that created it (and is horrified by how the government has abused it well past the model's limits).
But these problems don't change the fact that this model was originally intended to capture the costs of all basic necessities in one simple calculation. It's not the model's fault that food has gotten cheaper with every passing decade, and housing more expensive (and fancier). (Healthcare, BTW, is a bit of a red herring, because anyone below that level qualifies for free healthcare through Medicaid.)Yes, the model needs to be dramatically updated. But the original idea, as stated here, did exactly what we say here at that time. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:12, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
(I wished) Not everyone below the poverty line can get Medicaid. Only if you are a child, pregnant or a mother of a child 5 years of age or under can you get Medicaid, the men are totally left out and most of the adult women. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 134.197.214.202 (talkcontribs) 01:58, 15 December 2010
It is a mess, maybe because the state of the art is a mess. The article even seems to get relative and absolute the wrong way around. What's needed is a definition along the lines of being a state in which, if you remain in it, you will get ill and/or die. Then, a sum can be developed for each region. Finns would need more money for heating than Barbadians. People in countries with cheap food would need less than folk in the west. Once you have that, you can see who's truly poor and who would just like to get richer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.189.103.145 (talk) 18:24, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Old talk[edit]

Whether someone in this situation is "living in poverty" depends on who's doing the talking. Some advocates say that welfare]] programs should be taken into account; thus, a person receiving government assistance may be living well above the poverty level, if all sources of income are summed up. Other advocates apply the term "living in poverty" in a way that seems to include people whose private and public income exceeds the poverty line.

Which advocates?. Who are you talking about? Do these people have names? Also, what do you care about the turn-of-phrase living in poverty? DanKeshet

As far as I know, welfare programs, at least in the US, leave their recipients below the poverty line. If you're aware of any exceptions, Ed, please identify them.Vicki Rosenzweig 20:36, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Too tired and too poor to do it tonight, Dan/Vicki. I'll brush up on the facts tomorrow or over the weekend. Thanks for the rv, I'm wikied out... --Uncle Ed 20:47, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Growth[edit]

I have removed this statement because it is about the determinants of economic growth, not poverty. Wheter or not inequality leads to growth should be discussed somewhere else, I think.

"It is not in a society's interest to have a large percentage of its citizens living below the poverty line as they have no disposable income and thus adversely affect economic growth. A baseline goal for a progressive government is to have all of its constituents possess an income level at least that of the poverty line." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Oledr (talkcontribs) 07:40, 22 May 2005

References[edit]

I will supply some references tomorrow... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Oledr (talkcontribs) 07:41, 22 May 2005

Improvement drive[edit]

A related topic, Grameen Bank, has been nominated on Wikipedia:This week's improvement drive. Contribute your expertise and vote for Grameen Bank on Wikipedia:This week's improvement drive!--Fenice 06:47, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Relative poverty[edit]

The poverty line is the level of income below which one cannot afford to purchase all the resources one requires to live. People who have an income below the poverty line have no discretionary disposable income, by definition.

This is not the way it tends to work in Europe. This would seem to be an absolute poverty definition. In the UK and much of the EU people in poverty are counted using income inequality measures. In the UK the poverty line is drawn at 60% of Median household income adjusted for the size of household and the age and composition of the family. This is a useful International standard used by for example the Luxembourg Income Study.

The current definition (above) is an "inadequate resources" definition not a "deprived lifestyle" one. The definition as written prevents social exclusion being considered as a poverty issue.

Peter Townsend (Poverty In the United Kingdom, 1979) defined poverty as following:

Individuals, families and groups in the population 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 at least widely encouraged or approved, in societies to which they belong. Their resources are so seriously below those commanded by the average individual or family that they are in effect, excluded from the ordinary living patterns, customs and activities. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Richasdotcom (talkcontribs) 11:13, 28 October 2005

So are you saying that, in this article, there should be different definitions of the poverty line for different regions of the world? Or, maybe stated better, that the definition for poverty line in the developed world is different than for those living in developing countries?--MrNiceGuy1113 (talk) 22:24, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Is there an exact number?[edit]

Can someone link to what the poverty line is in america... the diff states? Or list it in the article. I make less than 10k a year. Am I poor? Squanderdalfast 09:59, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

The Relative poverty line may also be a regional Issue. Here in New York State a Per Captia Income for a Family of 3 of 35,000 a year would be below the poverty line if you live in New York City but if you live in Buffalo NY you would be considered Middle Class. The Cost of Living Differs a lot between diffrent regions of the United States with the Midwest having the lowest cost of living. The Cost of Living and Wages to meet that cost depends on regional access to food and jobs and housing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Trainfinder22 (talkcontribs) 00:10, 30 April 2006

The US Census Bureau contains much data about income levels in the United States US Census Bureau Site on Poverty

this is nonsense[edit]

"The poverty line is the level of income below which one cannot afford to purchase all the resources one requires to live." By this definition, there can be almost nobody below the poverty line. Anybody who falls under the line would soon die. We don't count dead people, do we? In the US, people supposedly under the poverty line are able to have cigarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets, cable TV, electrical power, cell phones, indoor plumbing, and numerous other things which are not at all required to live. (proof: my grandfather grew up without such things, yet he obviously survived) A person has disposable income if they can waste money on cigarettes and alcohol. AlbertCahalan 05:07, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Um...what are you talking about? First, I'm not sure where your definition of poverty came from. But, regardless, your understanding of purchasing "all the resources one requires to live," hardly takes into the account the cost of food, housing, utilities and health care.

Clearly, people do live for some time without food, clothing, and shelter, but [those are often the people we wish to avoid in the subway station] should they have to? Further, have you any idea what the cost of living is in some places (a studio apt. in an accessible location in NYC will cost you no less than $900 per month [and that is the absolute minimum])? And, do you any idea what is involved in applying for and receiving benefits? Or, have you any idea what those benefits actually amount to?

Poverty Line should be defined as an imaginary line which indicates the minimm subsistence level of living in terms of income and consumption. Italic text —Preceding unsigned comment added by 122.162.136.46 (talk) 14:40, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

In reply to this is nonsense[edit]

Just a note - I worked for welfare in Australia for a while and I also study sociology. What you say is true, a lot of people on welfare do obtain such things as cell phones, alcohol etc. but what you are not taking into account is that these people are often buying these things at the expense of other things such as rent or school books for their children. Many of these people are never debt free and they do not know how to handle their money (what little they have of it) because often they are decendents of very poor people and have not learnt about debt cycles etc. "resources one requires to live" also includes basic health care and for many people living below the poverty line them getting ill - which frequently happens because of the unsuitable conditions they live in- means that they have to choose whether to pay to go see a doctor or to put food on the table. Take for instance in Tasmania where I live, there are a growing number of people who are being trapped in a cycle of poverty because they cannot afford to pay for dental care, their rotting teeth exclude them from society and make it impossible for them to get jobs or rental properties, not being able to get a job means they can't afford to get dental care and so the cycle goes on and on. That is what living below the poverty line is, its about not being able to make ends meet or only just making ends meet so their is no money left over for emergencies like illness or broken down cars. It's about finding yourself trapped giving away 35% of your income when you rent to pay someone elses mortgage and never being able to own your own home. The amount of people I saw in arrears with their rent at Welfare was phenomenal, some of it was because the person wasted their money(viewing it as pocketmoney), for other people it was because they had to decide what they needed to pay for- the doctor for their sick child or the rent. Anyway I think you don't have a clue what poverty is really like for the disadvantaged. You probably think their slackers etc. and waste tax payers money. But until you study sociology you wont understand why these people are the way they are or how our society moulds them to be that way.

Kit, — Preceding unsigned comment added by 202.59.104.205 (talkcontribs) 03:36, 5 May 2006


ok sure so the poverty line is at people who cant afford tooth brushes? or tooth paste? ive grown up poor... homeless.. now at 28 with less than an 8th grade education i have my act together with little to no help from very few and far between people in my life.... i some how have managed to keep all of my teeth in socially acceptable condition even after living off sodas from a soda machine i bummed change for and candy bars i could lift from the grocery store i slept beside...... poverty is when you neglect necessity... then have your hand out..... it doesn't happen over night its years of poor decisions catching up —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.169.116.2 (talk) 14:55, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

A Small Query[edit]

While reading required school reading, I came across the mentioning of a "poverty threshold" / "poverty level". I was wondering if this is synonymous with "poverty line"... because I could then make redirects from the other two terms. Furthermore, the book mentions that the poverty threshold is computed by being "three times the cost of a minimally nutritous diet for a given number of people over a given period of time". It claims that research shows that ppor families of three or more persons spend approximately 1/3 of their income on food. I would, of course, source this, as well as another source they mention in the book. But, essentially I wanted to see everyone else's opinion. thanks! Zouf 00:09, 22 April 2006 (UTC)


Problems with Threshold[edit]

It seems to me that there is not a NPOV presented in the problems paragraph. Is there sourcing or a rewrite that could be done on it? I would do it myself, but am a newbie and scared to attempt it. Fundamentaldan 20:07, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Almost all societies have some citizens living in poverty.[edit]

"Almost all societies have some citizens living in poverty. "

The above statement (in logic/math terms) could be restated. There exists at least one society which has no citizens living in poverty.

Now, please tell me. Where is there a society on this planet that has no citizens living in poverty?

I assert there are none. If my assertion is correct, then the quoted sentence is nonsense. If I am wrong, I am willingly corrected. Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.214.236.85 (talkcontribs) 20:56, 24 October 2006

Answering that strictly, I'd say that both Brunei and UAE have none of their citizens living in poverty (see Economy of the United Arab Emirates and Demographics of Brunei). However both economies rely very heavily on non-citizen migrant workers, many of whom might well be said to live in poverty.
--Lost tourist 17:10, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
I could easily prove you wrong, if I arbitrarily chose the definition or boundaries of "society". (E.g. nos. 8 & 9 in this list here http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/society:
8. the social life of wealthy, prominent, or fashionable persons.
9. the social class that comprises such persons.
I presume what the article means when it says "(almost) all societies" is "(almost) all nations" (or states, etc). In which case, I'm sure you are correct about the "Almost" qualifier being wrong (although there might be exceptions - does the Vatican have any poverty, and does it count as a state/nation/society for this purpose? Wardog (talk) 20:01, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Specific country definitions[edit]

This article is pointed to by various infoboxes via the redirect from "Poverty line". See e.g. Economy of Poland. It is not useful to know that 17% of the population of Poland is living in poverty, without knowing where the poverty line for that statistic is being drawn. That needs to be explained in this article, or a different article needs to be used as the destination for these links. -- Beland 05:43, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

proposed new topic paragraph[edit]

I propose that the intro/topic paragraph be revised to

The poverty threshold, or poverty line, is the minimum level of income deemed necessary to achieve an adequate standard of living. In practice, like the definition of poverty, the official or common understanding of the poverty line is significantly higher in developed nations like the United States than in the Third World.

This is more in line with various sources, such as those at [1]. At least, the intro should agree with the article on poverty. I am unsure whether the section about discretionary income from older edits ([2]) should be included. -Grick(talk to me!) 11:01, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

OK, I've gone ahead and changed it now. Please put any discussion here. -Grick(talk to me!) 08:04, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

vive les courgettes[edit]

je pense pas comme vous, en fait je suis pas d'accord. mais alors pas du tout! gros bisous et a bientot les chouchous!! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 193.54.67.93 (talk) 13:47, 23 April 2007 (UTC).

NPOV problem?[edit]

I'm not a regular contributor here, but I'm not sure about something. The first thing in the article after the introduction is the "Problems with using a poverty threshold" section. This smells a bit funny to me and it smells like someone's trying to slip a little bias into the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 12.33.211.29 (talkcontribs) 11:36, 27 June 2007

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 16:24, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Absolute poverty - numbers[edit]

I am finding confusing data online for worldwide population leaving in or under absolute poverty ($2/day) - can anybody find a reliable source? The numbers I am finding are from 20% to 40% range.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 21:48, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm not surprised; I'd be more surprised if you trusted the numbers you found, given the substantial change in the value of a dollar during the last year. Your best bet, though, is one of the UN agencies. I'd expect to find the numbers at least a year out of date. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:51, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

I would like to see contributors specifying currency in the article since $1 is vague (if $1 USD then please specify). (araffals 22:38, 6 June 2009 (UTC)) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Araffals (talkcontribs)

This is absurd...[edit]

Article states that poverty in USA in understatedBold text because it doesn't account for the cost of cars and microwave ovens that the poor have... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.169.150.110 (talk) 06:12, 30 August 2008 (UTC)


Map incorrect[edit]

Please could some1 correct the map? Serbia is listed as a 30-40% whereas CIA factbook states it is at 6.5% (2007) https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2046.html tnx 83.157.189.124 (talk) 18:13, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Absolute & Relative Poverty as a seperate article[edit]

Absolute and relative poverty should recieve seperate articles rather than a redirect here.Smallman12q (talk) 02:41, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

I think that discussing these two issues in the same article is helpful: those are the only two ways to measure poverty, and the side-by-side comparison might be enlightening. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:16, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

I am having problems with the first paragraph in Absolute Poverty. It seems as though this is an essay and should not be in the article. The author appears to be making statements based on research and not statements about the actual research. "Such an absolute measure should look only at the individual's power to consume and it should be independent of any changes in income distribution." This is just an example. — Preceding unsigned comment added by MrNiceGuy1113 (talkcontribs) 23:13, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

US Poverty Line[edit]

I find it odd compare [3] and [4] the second is used for the citation within the article but it is officaly measured as the first one according to law so which is the proper one? i personally would go for the first as poverty isn't really general and constant person to person but the law measures it with the first set of stats--209.181.16.93 (talk) 21:30, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

The HHS's poverty guideline is not the same thing as the Census Bureau's poverty threshold. As I understand it, the first is used to determine eligibility for a variety of government services, and the second is used to describe the demographics (e.g., how many children are living in 'poverty'). As this article is about the "poverty threshold", it should use the Census Bureau's source. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:21, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
I got to this article for poverty line therefore we would need to remove the redirect for that logic to work.--209.181.16.93 (talk) 16:18, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
seeing as poverty is not some random thing which can be stated in universal form and i was looking for measurement informationin relation to the poverty line as the govt measures it in terms of how the government helps you I understand a bit of how they measure it and if we want to go by a real definition the threashhold is a dollar ammount higher than even the census measures and varies drasitcly city to city state to state etc.. --209.181.16.93 (talk) 18:17, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia should not pretend that Poverty line is the same thing as Poverty line in the United States.
It sounds like you need to be reading the USA-specific article instead of this article, which is supposed to provide general information that is applicable to every country in the world (with some country-specific examples where suitable). The relevant section is here. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:39, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Seeing as there is no reference to the article even then it should be mentioned also surely the united states isnt the only country with poverty based assistance programs and they must use some measurement as well --209.181.16.93 (talk) 15:15, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but I'm confused. There's no reference to which article where?
As for expanding this to include other countries, any person is welcome to do that. For all I know, most other countries use the same number for both purposes. (It would seem sensible, wouldn't it?) On the other hand, I believe that Canada doesn't have any national numbers at all. Each province sets its own. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:05, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

No reference to Poverty line in the United States since it is a redirect and someone will not know its different from reading the article it should be mentioned —Preceding unsigned comment added by 209.181.16.93 (talk) 19:14, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Housing being the most expensive expenditure[edit]

The article says that "In developing countries, the most expensive of these resources is typically the cost of housing.".

At least for Kenya, this is not the case. According to the most recently available national rural poverty line estimate only approx. 25% of the expenditure is needed for non-food products (312 as compared to 927 KSh).

Source: GoK (2000): Second report on poverty in Kenya. Ministry of Finance and Planning, Nairobi, Kenya. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.13.186.4 (talk) 09:11, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

The sentence goes back to the very first version of the article, which said, "The largest of these resources 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 effector." I see no reason for this to be limited to "developing countries", so I'll remove that. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:56, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree. I think if anything rent required to live in an apartment is more of a developed world poverty problem. In Central America there are a number of NGOs that work to construct houses or improved housing for poorer, rural communities.--MrNiceGuy1113 (talk) 22:40, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
Also, is the resourced that is talked about rent required to live in an apartment or is housing costs a more appropriate term?--MrNiceGuy1113 (talk) 22:45, 25 April 2012 (UTC)


Where is the History section: Has the poverty line moved? Has the formulation changed and when? Mrhymer (talk) 14:04, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

The history of poverty could be its own article. Poverty is mentioned in the Bible and is to this day a theme that has an impact on society.--MrNiceGuy1113 (talk) 23:01, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Troughout history[edit]

Since long it was assumed that in the Dark Ages, the common people had an income about equalt to the poverty line (400 dollar per year). However, recent research by Stephen Broadberry concluded that this was not so, and that the general income of Europeans in the Dark Ages was about 1000 dollar; hence much more than what people today in developing countries make.[1]

add in article 91.182.86.177 (talk) 14:11, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

As of 10/25/11 the first line of this article states[edit]

"The poverty threshold, or poverty line, is the measure of how many stupid black people are in the country. Almost all of these "slaves" are below this line and make up 100% of our country's poverty"

someone should fix this as I'm pretty sure that's not really what the poverty threshold is — Preceding unsigned comment added by 12.187.240.66 (talk) 00:03, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

For the measure to be absolute, the line must be the same in different countries, cultures, and technological levels.[edit]

This is untrue. The line can be made to vary depending on local costs of food and needs such as heating. Then one has a comparable measure. It's like index-linking. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.189.103.145 (talk) 18:18, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Local prices, yes, but not local preferences. A proper line doesn't use the cost of rice and vegetables in one place and the cost of caviar and lobster mayonnaise and cheesecake in another. You pick some class of food (e.g., a diet based on grains and legumes, with 2000 calories and 50 g of protein per day) and figure the costs of that diet for everyone. The price of the diet will vary from place to place, and certain comparable items might be exchanged (rice is Asia might become maize/corn in Central America), but the concept should be the same, so that you're comparing apples to apples. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:06, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Relative Poverty[edit]

A couple of paragraphs under this heading appear to me to be utterly irrational. In fact, throughout the article, one simple fact seems to have been overlooked, namely, that wealthy people have no need of income and are certainly not poor. Incidentally, I don't understand the prejudices against illiteracy and clay floors. The best floors are those of grass or leaves. 169.139.19.207 (talk) 21:44, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Outdated! update needed[edit]

the map is outdated. there is a new data for 2012 already. for instance nepal is 28.2% and the colour of the map shows over 40% — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.71.197.17 (talk) 04:30, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

outdated/ update needed for map[edit]


the map is outdated. there is a new data already. for instance nepal is 24.82% for < $1.25/day in the table and the colour of the map shows over 40%

I have stopped the request, as no map has been suggested to supersede the current one. Mdann52 (talk) 16:37, 5 August 2012 (UTC)