Talk:Poverty in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Former good article nominee Poverty in the United States was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
July 31, 2006 Good article nominee Not listed

Archived discussions (2003-2009)


Deficit views without evidence[edit]

I'm removing the following from the "Poverty and education" section. It makes claims (e.g., about apathy, and later about "mere copies") that are potentially prejudicial, with no evidence. A user recently did some good work in this section. It needs more of this kind.

Removed: "Another important aspect of education in low income communities is the apathy of both students and teachers. To some, the children of the poor or ignorant are mere copies of their parents fated to live at the same level of income and education as their parents." Drewdeecopp (talk) 17:51, 9 December 2016 (UTC)


Remove Harlem Picture[edit]

The person who took the picture says it was taken in one of the wealthiest areas. It's inappropriate for this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.202.83.147 (talk) 17:59, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

You're right, I agree a better picture should be found. TastyCakes (talk) 18:01, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

I removed it. Not sure why nobody else did Bhny (talk) 19:51, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

MIssing statistics for Veterans[edit]

I noticed you haven't address poverty within the military sector, including veterans. Do you plan on covering this in near-future revisions? There are some numbers here from the U.S. Census Bureau http://factfinder.census.gov/jsp/saff/SAFFInfo.jsp?_pageId=tp12_veterans

Dagdason (talk) 14:14, 3 June 2010 (UTC) Dagdason (talk) 14:12, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Overstating poverty (2)[edit]

67.71.136.84 (talk) 13:45, 7 July 2011 (UTC)The last line in this section states: "Moreover, Swedish right-wing think tank Timbro points out that lower-income households in the U.S. tend to own more appliances and larger houses than many middle-income Western Europeans.[53]", but the article cited makes no such claim directly (although it may be inferred by the overall consumption levels given). That said, the article does not compare poverty-level consumption at any point, and there is no justification for the claim made here. It most certainly is not supported by the reference material being cited.

I made some changes to the "overstating poverty" section that were quickly reverted. They were basically the expansion and closer examination of the claims that already existed in the article. In fact, my elaborations have a more critical attitude towards those claims than the quick mentions of them in the previous version. I don't see why my contribution should be reverted. Apparently it was perceived as "pushing" something, but everything was cited and appropriate skepticism was expressed regarding the major claims. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.118.144.115 (talk) 02:14, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

Problem is, much of what you added looks like original research. You might want to click that link to refresh yourself on the policy.
-Garrett W. { } 02:36, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
OK, so here is the content of my contribution:
Poverty rates merely measure the number of people living under the poverty line, but they do not tell us how well-off the average people and people above the poverty line are, thereby potentially providing a distorted picture of people’s well-being in that country. This means that a country with a higher poverty rate is not necessarily a country of average worse-off people, or even a country of some very poor and some very rich people: While there is about double as much poverty in the US compared to many European countries[1], average Americans might turn out to be much better-off than average Europeans, according to some studies at least: Bergström and Gidehag of the Swedish libertarian think tank Timbro claim that the American poor are in fact rich by European measures, as they are much more likely to have dishwashers, microwaves, clothes dryers, VCRs, personal computers, TVs, and cars than people in any European country, while as likely to have other appliances except for cell phones[2]. These claims, if accurate, do not necessarily contradict higher poverty figures because there might be less people in Europe who are below the poverty line, yet many more people who are above but fairly close to the line. As one figure shows[2], 40% of Swedish households earn less than $25,000 a year (non-PPP-adjusted), the income of only 25% of all American households.
Neither do rates tell us how many people are actually “chronically poor”. It might be that many people become poor for a period during a given year, and are thus counted in the poverty rates, but are not necessarily in much difficulty overall. Rector and Johnson of The Heritage Foundation provide data indicating that among the “poor” population of the United States, 45.9% own their own homes, 72.8% own cars, 96.9% own refrigerators, 97.3% own color TVs, and 78.0% own video or DVs[3]. When compared to the data from Cox and Alm[4], this means that if the American poor in the early 2000s formed a country of their own, they would be as well-off or even slightly better-off than most typical European countries around the same time. These figures do potentially contradict the ones showing more poverty in the US compared to most European countries[1]. (One needs to explain how it is possible to have less poverty in terms of purchasing power but at the same time lower rates of product ownership.) The possible causes of this apparent contradiction in data are not analyzed in any of the cited papers (apart from the possibility of either of the two sources of data being biased or inaccurate, other possible explanations might include temporary poverty and the exclusion of used appliances in measuring the purchasing power of people).
I have heard two criticisms: (1) looks like original research, (2) uses words like "claims", etc. that sound like POV pushing. Thanks for the criticisms. Here is my suggested revision based on these two criticisms:
According to Cox and Alm[4], poverty rates might be misleading because they merely measure the number of people living under the poverty line, but do not tell us how well-off the average people and people above the poverty line are, thereby potentially providing a distorted picture of people’s well-being in that country. This means that a country with a higher poverty rate is not necessarily a country of average worse-off people, or even a country of some very poor and some very rich people: While there is about double as much poverty in the US compared to many European countries[1], average Americans might turn out to be much better-off than average Europeans, according to some studies at least: Bergström and Gidehag of the Swedish libertarian think tank Timbro provide data indicating that the average Americans are in fact rich by European standards. Most states of the US have a higher per capita GDP which correlates with wages and salaries, and people in the US are much more likely to have dishwashers, microwaves, clothes dryers, VCRs, personal computers, TVs, and cars than people in any European country, while as likely to have other appliances except for cell phones[2]. These results do not necessarily contradict higher poverty figures because there might be less people in Europe who are below the poverty line, yet many more people who are above but fairly close to the line. As one figure shows[2], 40% of Swedish households earn less than $25,000 a year (non-PPP-adjusted), the income of only 25% of all American households.
Some studies also show that people counted as "poor" in the statistics are not necessarily in much difficulty overall, especially in terms of product ownership. Rector and Johnson of The Heritage Foundation provide data indicating that among the “poor” population of the United States, 45.9% own their own homes, 72.8% own cars, 96.9% own refrigerators, 97.3% own color TVs, and 78.0% own video or DVs[3]. Bergström and Gidehag[2] compare these to the data from Cox and Alm[4], and conclude that if the American poor in the early 2000s formed a country of their own, they would be as well-off or even slightly better-off than most typical European countries around the same time. These figures do potentially contradict the ones showing more poverty in the US compared to most European countries[1]. (One needs to explain how it is possible to have less poverty in terms of purchasing power but at the same time lower rates of product ownership.) The possible causes of this apparent contradiction in data are not analyzed in any of the cited papers.
What do you think? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.118.144.115 (talk) 03:34, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
I didn't get any response, so I applied some other minor revisions and posted the two paragraphs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.118.144.115 (talk) 02:10, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant to respond. The revision you've posted looks much better – thanks.
Also, you should consider registering for a free account. That way you can keep track of your edits no matter where you make them from, as well as keep track of changes more easily on pages that interest you (like this one).
-Garrett W. { } 20:10, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion. The reason I haven't created an account so far is that I'm pretty busy and I'm worried that creating an account makes me feel attached or obligated to contribute :-). But I'll definitely think about it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.118.144.115 (talk) 02:44, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree, I think the section looks fine now. It does seem a little verbose though, considering it seems to be just pointing out that the US may have quite high relative poverty but relatively low absolute poverty... TastyCakes (talk) 20:34, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
In fact, if these data are accurate, the point is much more complicated (and interesting) than the difference between relative and absolute poverty. Because the US has 11.7% poverty in absolute terms, whereas, say, Sweden has only 5.8%[1]. So, if the data is correct, we can say that it's one thing for a country to have more poverty, it's quite another for its average people to be worse-off (for one thing you might have less poverty but more people close to poverty). Moreover, it's one thing for an individual to be in poverty, it's another for him/her to be in trouble in terms of ownership of appliances. And all this is being said about absolute poverty. I suspect that the huge used products market in the US is partly responsible for poor people owning so many products. As far as I know, prices of used products are not taken into account when calculating Purchasing Power Parity. Another contributing factor might be the length of the period of poverty. Maybe about 11.7% of people hit the poverty line every year, but they recover quickly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.118.144.115 (talk) 02:44, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
I am having problems with this entire discussion. If someone in poverty in the US has more total wealth in whatever form than someone not in poverty in Sweden, then they are better off - pretty much by definition. If you can establish through data the differences in wealth then the conclusion that the standards of poverty are far out of alignment is a matter of logic not sources. This is part of a larger issue related to accuracy of the statistics the government keeps. Anyone who has been alive for more than a few decades can grasp with little thought that the majority of us regardless of what class we are assigned have more real wealth than we had several decades ago, and that we have more wealth than people in our current class had several decades ago. Since government statistic claim differently either our perception is wrong or the statistics are wrong. Beyond that regardless of government statistics, there is no such thing as absolute or relative poverty. Poverty is an arbitrary word - the government statistics on poverty are accurate - in that they correctly reflect changes in poverty as the government has defined it. At the same time if Americans living in poverty according to the US governments definition have cell phones, dishwashers, flat screens and other forms of wealth, then most of us would conclude that the government definition of poverty is in error - and by extension that the CPI is probably off too.
whose comment is the preceding? My response is that any "absolute poverty" notion is apt to be meaningless." House and room rentals are much lower in some countries than others. Moreover, lower income Americans without health insurance will often be worse off than in countries with partially socialized medecine.Jamesdowallen (talk) 13:30, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Dhlii (talk) 00:54, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

The New York Times just released a good article about this issue which provides useful statistics concerning median income in America, number of Americans in poverty, including children, as well as the number of Americans without health care insurance and disparities in education. Since access to affordable health care and educational attainment levels are pretty well correlated with poverty and income is clearly a sign of economic poverty, I thought they would be useful for inclusion in this article. I think more information about the distribution of poverty. particularly within the individual states is important. I there is another good article on that as well. As for the discussion on poverty in America, there seems to be confusion over relative and absolute poverty. Perhaps this article can address that. Experts on poverty such as Jeff Sachs of Columbia and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen find these definitions and comparisons to be useful in their works The End of Poverty and Development as Freedom, respectively, so it is worth investigating.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/world/africa/famine-hits-somalia-in-world-less-likely-to-intervene.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=world

http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/21748-1 (User:DanSCohen)

understanding poverty[edit]

i took this down because it is original research: "[The rationale behind this argument is difficult to follow. In 1963-1965 when the current “goods basket” was established, cars, home phones and hand mixers were in fact quite common. Have “necessities” really grown 70% in recent decades? Much of new technology merely displaces earlier technology. Refrigerators displaced ice boxes. CD’s displaced eight-track tapes and vinyl records, and electric hand mixers displaced hand cranked mixers. Basic needs today are now being met by different technologies than in the 1960, but those needs are not appreciably greater than they were.]"

i don't know why the brackets we included by the original contributor. it's also incredibly stupid. what is that thing you are right now staring directly into, that cost hundreds of dollars, and that wasn't a necessity before the 1980's? a computer. how much is your subscription fee for the internet? these two things, sitting directly in front of you as you read this, did not exist in 1963- 1965. neither did pacemakers, MRI machines, and many other medical necessities. what about the cost of education, and its inflexible relationship to poverty? what about credit cards? how old is the person that wrote this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.119.231.209 (talk) 17:16, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

there are further original research issues with this section, if somebody wants to take a crack at it.


There is a lack of information on why there are so many changes in the legal definition of "poverty" in the US. Are there possible Supreme Court cases, legal jargon that needed to be changed for new poverty programs, etc? I think it would be a good source of history for the official legal definition changes in this article to better understand society's classification of it. Ahneechanges? (talk) 20:39, 30 October 2016 (UTC)

Questions[edit]

This looks like a great article. But. It is very high level. Missing is the "History of Poverty" or maybe "fighting poverty" or whatever you want to call it. There seems to be no place for current statistics showing no progress since the 60s. Yes. This is all covered in the "cyclic" view in the text. "Politics of Poverty in the United States" would seem to be another logical article. There may be such articles, but they don't seem to have an obvious portal from here. Student7 (talk) 02:33, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

War on Poverty is maybe what you want? EllenCT (talk) 07:09, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

Data for US ( period before 1959)[edit]

I was listening to the mises video [...] speaker claimed that poverty was declining (@ aprox 1%/year)before the welfare programs started. So I came here to find out if he is correct and found no info about that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.164.254.67 (talk) 12:31, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Discussion re methods of measuring poverty rate[edit]

The following has been cut from the article page - I don't know who the author was, but it belongs in the discusion space rather than the article body: Little Professor (talk) 23:08, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Note#2: The Poverty Threshold is (correct me if I'm wrong on any point) NEVER measured according to the HHS Poverty Guidelines. The HHS Poverty Guidelines are calculated from the Poverty Thresholds, also known as "the federal official poverty line" in accordance with Title 42 Sec. 9902 (2) of The Federal Code. The thresholds are provided by The Office of Management and Budget as the starting point which are taken from years prior to the current Threshold figures and are multiplied by a percentage change in the CPI (Consumer Price Index) measured from the earlier Thresholds' year of publication to the present. The average difference between the thresholds and this result is then added back to the original Threshold amounts to produce the HHS Poverty Guideline Table as displayed below. See here for details:

http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/09computations.shtml

http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/faq.shtml#differences

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode42/usc_sec_42_00009902----000-.html

The Poverty Threshold Table for 2008: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/threshld/thresh08.html</ref>

Official Poverty Measures[edit]

It seems a bit misleading to characterize the poverty threshold developed by Orshansky and the poverty guidelines developed by the Department of Health and Human Services as two separate poverty measures - which is what the header for the section says "Two Official Measures of Poverty.". This would imply that each measure takes into account different items when calculating the poverty level. However, this is not the case. The measure utilized by the Department of Health and Human Services is a simplified version of the Orshanky's measure, not a different way of measuring poverty (http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/11poverty.shtml). A possible modification would be to change the header to just "Official Poverty Measure," and then discuss that Orshanky's absolute poverty threshold is the official poverty measure, but that it is modified by government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services for their own specific needs. Ylor916 (talk) 17:54, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

I also agree with the previous comment's advice. There is a lack of clarity in the article about the two measures of poverty, and the way it is presented does not explain the implied differences between both. There should also be a removal of the brief history/biography of Orshansky due to the distraction from the information presented about the measures. If it isn't already, this information should be found on Millie Orshansky's own wiki page instead of cluttering this section. Ahneechanges? (talk) 20:40, 30 October 2016 (UTC)

First Paragraph Absolute-> Relative change[edit]

Citation number 2, used in the top paragraph of the intro section, supports only the number of US Citizens living in relative poverty (below the nation's poverty line)as opposed to absolute poverty(in the realm of less than $1-2 per day PPP). As such, I changed the word absolute to relative so the paragraph is no longer misleading.

AndreisEntaro (talk) 09:14, 18 OCT 2011 (UTC)

Percentage of Poverty Rate[edit]

Can we have a little discussion of % of poverty rate? I feel that there is a bit of a disconnect between actual poverty rate and what people in the work sector determine as poverty, which can often be up to 200% of the federal poverty level. --Gautam Discuss 16:24, 22 March 2012 (UTC)


Is it possible to find up to date information of the official number of poor in the US for 2016? The last data found in this article under the subheading section "Numbers in other countries" was for 2008. Ahneechanges? (talk) 20:39, 30 October 2016 (UTC)

Child poverty[edit]

I think this should be added to this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21636723 - "Child poverty in the US has reached record levels, with almost 17 million children now affected. A growing number are also going hungry on a daily basis...." EllenCT (talk) 05:14, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

I added this. EllenCT (talk) 07:07, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

The demographics should also be included: http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_912.html —User 000 name 02:48, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Confusing/ innacurate paragraph[edit]

in the section on measurement and understatement of poverty "In 2011, the Census Bureau introduced a new supplementary poverty measure aimed at providing a more accurate picture of the true extent of poverty in the United States. According to this new measure, 16% of Americans lived in poverty in 2011, compared with 15.2% using the official figure. The new measure also estimated that nearly half of all Americans lived in poverty that year, defined as living within 200% of the federal poverty line.[68]"

HOw can it be true that "16% of Americans lived in poverty" and also that "nearly half of all Americans lived in poverty"? is there a modifier missing in the second case?

Taia Ergueta — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.210.18.254 (talk) 22:00, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

I agree, this article is filled with confusing language and verbiage. One section begins, "Although the relative approach theoretically differs largely from the Orshansky definition, crucial variables of both poverty definitions are more similar than often thought." I don't think it's good formatting to start a section with "Although" and I'm pretty sure a section beginning should start with a declarative sentence or two to make it clear what subject is being discussed before any "Although" or "theoretically" is thrown in there. 24.225.67.129 (talk) 20:14, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Does the first picture accurately represent poverty in America?[edit]

The first picture is from the Great Depression. The family lives in a poorly built shack and appear to be unhealthy and somewhat emaciated. Does this really represent the current trend of American poverty? Most people currently in poverty are not suffering from actual malnutrition, and they also have homes which are livable by world standards. 99.199.53.49 (talk) 21:56, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

Prior content in this article duplicated one or more previously published sources. The material was copied from: http://www.economist.com/node/15867956. Copied or closely paraphrased material has been rewritten or removed and must not be restored, unless it is duly released under a compatible license. (For more information, please see "using copyrighted works from others" if you are not the copyright holder of this material, or "donating copyrighted materials" if you are.) For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or published material; such additions will be deleted. Contributors may use copyrighted publications as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously, and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. While we appreciate contributions, we must require all contributors to understand and comply with these policies. Thank you. Diannaa (talk) 22:17, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Bias: Wrong information about median income in Europe compared to the US[edit]

The text says: "The median household income is much higher in the US than in Europe due to the wealth of the middle classes in the US, from which the poverty line is derived." There is no source quoted here. It almost seems like the author believes that that's just something everyone knows and agrees with.

The problem is just that it's not true. Or at least very misleading. See the table in this link: http://www.gallup.com/poll/166211/worldwide-median-household-income-000.aspx

As you can see here, the median household income in most Western European countries (before taxes) is comparable to the median household income in the US. (It's just the average that is higher in the US due to a very skewed income distribution and a few super-rich Americans, but the US middle class is not (and especially not MUCH) wealthier than the middle class in Western Europe.) As you can see, the median per capita (!) income is even higher in all Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finnland) than in the US. That also shows how biased the discussion about absolute poverty in Sweden vs. the US is (see paragraph "overstating poverty"). The possession of dishwashers, microwaves a.s.o. is not a very valid indicator of poverty, especially if you interpret this information isolated and ignore other relevant facts. Lacking access to healthy food and to health care seems to be more important, especially for the very poor. (And by the way, the Swedish think tank quoted does not compare the possession rates for these electronic devices for poor households, but for ALL American households and households in different European countries. And the numbers are rather old, too. When it comes about poor households then, only the US possession rates of these electronic devices are listed in the table. And for example it says that only about 64% of the poor US households have washing machines. Although especially Sweden seems to be an exception there, I find it hard to imagine that in most of Western Europe the according rate in poor households is so low, because really everyone has a washing machine here, no matter how poor they are.)

The comparison of median household (!) income is also misleading for yet another reason, because European households have less members in average than American households. Just look at the table in the above link and compare the numbers for median household income to the numbers for median per capita income for each country; then it's clear that the average household size in Europe must be smaller: Because when you take the median per capita income instead, Finnland overtakes the US and all the other Western European countries in the list come very close to the US. (And these countries are rather representative of Western Europe, because the other Western European countries that do not appear in this top ten list would come close behind). However, the poorer countries from the South or East of Europe (such as Portugal, Spain, Greece or Poland) do of course not appear in this list, and people in these countries really earn significantly less than Americans, but also much less than the average Western European. Though many Americans might think of Europe as a rather homogeneous economy, the wealth between North and South, East and West, varies widely. A comparison between the USA and the whole European continent makes just as much sense as e.g. comparing the wealth of Germany to that of North and South America in total, then concluding that "the middle class in Germany is much better off than in America". Europe is a continent, not a country. If you want to make a sensible comparison, you must form groups of economically similar countries in Europe.

And then again, regular income is not the only index of wealth. If you measure wealth by median net worth (total possession or capital) instead of median income, the US stays WAY behind most Western European countries as the following link shows: http://www.middleclasspoliticaleconomist.com/2013/10/median-wealth-increases-but-us-still.html In these data, the worth of real estate is included; that's why countries like Italy rank so high because they have a high percentage of house owners. But even Slovenia (a poor country in former ex-communist Yugoslavia) has a slightly higher median net worth than the USA. And in Spain, which is really known as a rather poor European country, the median net worth is still about one and a half times as high as in the US (also due to a very high percentage of house owners). That means: Measured by the total amount of their possessions, even the Slovenian and Spanish middle class possesses more (per capita) than the American middle class. Americans are only on rank 27, worldwide. (But of course, the value of electronics, furniture, etc. is not included in this calculation. Another issue is that many Americans live on debt).

Of course the picture looks different again if you take the average net worth instead of the median net worth. Then the US comes directly after Switzerland, Norway and Australia on the 4th place of the richest countries in the world. But since the high average wealth in the US is mainly a result of a distribution that is more unequal than in any other Western country ( see this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality ), the median is probably a more valid measure than the average in this case, especially when it's about poverty rates and facts about the wealth of the middle class. The median describes the middle class per definition. And the fact that the distribution of wealth in the US is very skewed, and that the US in whole is one of the richest countries in the world, does NOT automatically mean that the American middle class is so rich. The numbers show another picture: It's the few superrich that let the average rise so high, not the middle class: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myeTFquSNMA

And then, finally, another link to an international comparison of median per capita income - this time AFTER taxes:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/upshot/the-american-middle-class-is-no-longer-the-worlds-richest.html?rref=upshot

The numbers are different from the numbers in the first link not only because it's after taxes here, but also because they are based on another study that used a different definition of income. Indeed it seems here that the median per capita income is higher in the USA compared to Western Europe. But you must also be aware of the fact, that after having payed your taxes, in most European countries, you don't need to pay anything additionally for health insurances or for private pension provision (which Americans often pay from their net incomes), because that's all fully included in the taxes and these social systems have a rather high standard that people relie on. Additionally, most European countries have free access to Universities (without fees), free access to child daycare, a.s.o. And this is the main reason why the taxes are higher over here than in the US. So especially after taxes, you must be careful not to compare apples and oranges - because taxes is not just money that you have to give away. You get something back for paying taxes.

The sentence quoted above is also misleading because most people (at least most Europeans) mean "Western Europe" when they say "Europe". (In addition, the sentence about the rich American middle class and the allegedly much poorer European middle class appears in the article after the German and Belgian poverty thresholds have been mentioned as an example of Europe - both Western European states). But all together, I think it should be clear now that the median per capita incomes of Americans are effectively not "MUCH higher" than those of Western Europeans. (And that the median net worth / total possession is even way lower.)

Since this article deals with poverty, it's also important to know that especially the poorest 20% of the population are MUCH better off in most Western European countries than in the US, as Professor Katz states in the NYT-article that I linked above (the last link): "The struggles of the poor in the United States are even starker than those of the middle class. A family at the 20th percentile of the income distribution in this country makes significantly less money than a similar family in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland or the Netherlands. Thirty-five years ago, the reverse was true." The Swedish think tank numbers that are linked in the text are from 1999 (1999 for Europe; 2004 for the numbers about poor households in the USA), and the possession of electronic devices does not tell you too much about poverty. In addition, the possession rates of electronic devices have risen very much in the European Union during the last 15 years, as the following links show for Germany: https://www.destatis.de/DE/ZahlenFakten/GesellschaftStaat/EinkommenKonsumLebensbedingungen/AusstattungGebrauchsguetern/Tabellen/Haushaltsgeraete_D.html ; https://www.destatis.de/DE/ZahlenFakten/GesellschaftStaat/EinkommenKonsumLebensbedingungen/AusstattungGebrauchsguetern/Tabellen/Infotechnik_D.html ; http://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/4341/umfrage/haushaltsausstattung-mit-elektrogeraeten/ ; http://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/198959/umfrage/anzahl-der-smartphonenutzer-in-deutschland-seit-2010/ . These statistics (which are in German) show that in Germany, today, more than 99.5% of all households have a fridge, about 70% have a dish washer and a microwave (70% each), and 95% have a washing machine and an in-built stove/cooker. The clothes dryer is much less common in Germany than in the US with a household rate of about 40% to 50%. But about 80% of all German households have a PC or a netbook with internet access, more than 90% have a cellphone, and about 45% have a GPS navigation system. 96% have a TV, 80% have a DVD player, and in 2014, about 40 million Germans had a smartphone, which is about 50% of the population. (Each electronic device was counted only once per household in these statistics). In several of these electronic devices, the general possession rates of households are even higher in Germany than in the USA, and Germans earn less than e.g. Dutch, Belgians, Scandinavians and people from Luxembourg. So it makes no sense to talk about the "poverty" of the middle classes in Sweden or in Western Europe in general. Even if you measure poverty in possession of electronic devices, the numbers of this Swedish think tank are just much too old. What's true, however, is that houses and flats tend to be smaller in Western Europe than in the USA. But that also has to do with a higher material quality of the buildings which of course makes them more expensive. --93.131.90.137 (talk) 12:05, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Worse than wrong, information shouldn't really be here. The article is about US poverty not US/Europe middle class. It is non-WP:TOPIC. Okay to compare it against worldwide standards, but editors cannot pick and choose comparisons for this article which is about the US. That is also WP:OR no matter how WP:RS the sources. Student7 (talk)
I think it's OK to pick and choose the comparison with Western Europe (not Eastern Europe), and it would also be OK e.g. for Canada and Australia, because these countries/regions are culturally most similar to the US in the world and have a similar degree of development. Such a comparison says more than a comparison with culturally unsimilar and less developed countries. The argument was that the author(s) said the poor in the United states would be better off than (or at least just as rich as) the middle class in Europe. That's not true as I showed (or at least biased because Europe is economically very diverse and you can't mix Eastern and Western Europe for the same comparison). But it was the reason why the "European" middle class appeared in this article although it doesn't even exist because it's way too heterogenous across countries to call it one class. It's OK to choose comparisons with special similarly developed countries, but of course, then the information given must be 1. correct, 2. unbiased and not selective, and 3. related to present time, and not to one and a half decade ago, because things can change over time, and especially in this case, a lot of things have changed. But you're right: Since the argument (in the text) that the poor in the US had a standard of living that's comparable to the middle class in Western Europe is just wrong (as also Professor Katz stated in the NYT article that's - by the way - also in the link list of this WP article), this comparison should not appear in the text at all because then it's really off topic. It would not have been off topic if it were true. However since it appeared in the text, I needed to quote several sources to show that it's wrong and why. Additionally, it's based on rather old statictics. --77.182.195.149 (talk) 15:19, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

Removing undue assertions by The Heritage Foundation from lede[edit]

I reverted this edit as the assertions made by Rector of The Heritage Foundation have received significant criticism and don't belong in the lede. If they remain it would qualify as WP:undue, and therefore counterpoints will have to be added from the source (CBS article) which, in my view, defeats the purpose of the lede, which is to provide data which is interpreted in the body of the article in appropriate sections. We don't need to expand the lede with controversial assertions from the so-called "poverty expert" Robert Rector. In fact, the same assertions in question are elsewhere in the article ("overstating poverty" section).--C.J. Griffin (talk) 19:23, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to 2 external links on Poverty in the United States. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

N An editor has determined that the edit contains an error somewhere. Please follow the instructions below and mark the |checked= to true

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 07:13, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

sourcecheck=failed  —jmcgnh(talk) (contribs) 04:03, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Poverty in the United States. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

N An editor has determined that the edit contains an error somewhere. Please follow the instructions below and mark the |checked= to true

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 22:31, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

sourcecheck=failed  —jmcgnh(talk) (contribs) 04:01, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

Bias and disorganization: first paragraph[edit]

The introduction paragraph reads like a politically biased text showing how poverty is such a worrying problem, focusing on the negative - probably because the writers / editors in general who are interested in this topic, as well as the research quoted / available often has an activist leaning.

Also, the information is kind of haphazardly organized, and difficult to interpret because it is not presented in context. Someone should find statistics and numbers which put those cited into context. For example, if we cite "California has a poverty rate of 23.8%, the highest of any state in the country", we should also say which state has the lowest poverty rate. If we say, "Starting in the 1930s, relative poverty rates have consistently exceeded those of other wealthy nations.", we ought to also present how poverty in the US has changed compared to non-wealthy nations, or how it has evolved internally since the Great Depression. How is it impartial and objective to simply compare it to "other wealthy nations", and to single out "relative poverty"?

Statistics compare an arbitrary 2011 to a 1996, and data quoted range from 2009 to 2013. Perhaps the introduction paragraph should state that these are the most recent data available - if that is indeed the case.

89.176.233.113 (talk) 21:29, 5 April 2016 (UTC) soulc

Numbers under Poverty and race/ethnicity don't make sense[edit]

This section needs clarification. The numbers may be incorrect. They really don't make sense, though I'm not sure exactly what they are describing. So either there needs to be textual clarification or the numbers need to be corrected. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 205.214.180.12 (talk) 14:18, 11 August 2016 (UTC)

Recent POV additions to lede[edit]

User:Vapour added highly polemical and contentious materials to the lede of this article, and the sources used were opinion pieces/blogs by libertarian writers in the Financial Times and Forbes. There is no proper attribution to the writers of these articles, which is Wikipedia policy regarding such sources (WP:NEWSORG), and the sources are not properly formatted. Given the POV nature of these additions and that the sources used are non-academic opinion pieces, I recommend they be moved from the lede to a more proper sub-section and re-written to include proper attribution, or removed from the article altogether.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 20:17, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

California's poverty rate[edit]

Does California really have the highest poverty rate in the nation, as noted in the opening section? Or is this number some kind of adjusted rate (e.g. SPM, which California has the highest number for, but may not be appropriate for the first paragraph before this measure is explained)? Furthermore, there is no source for 20.2% being the SPM for California, either. In any case, this number/fact is not in the source provided and I'll remove it soon if no one seems to know why it is there. Among other sources, it conflicts with this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_poverty_rate and this source for the next sentence: http://census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2016/demo/p60-258.pdf .

Cwinstanley (talk) 18:03, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ a b c d e Kenworthy, L. (1999). Do social-welfare policies reduce poverty? A cross-national assessment. Social Forces, 77(3), 1119-1139.
  2. ^ a b c d e "EU versus USA" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  3. ^ a b "Understanding Poverty in America" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  4. ^ a b c Cox, Michael W. and Richard Alm (2000). Myths of Rich and Poor: Why We’re Better off than We Think, Basic Books.