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The true poverty level

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posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 12:04 AM

Originally posted by Hefficide

If anything this article, and the replies, show me that we're becoming conditioned to the concept of poverty and to a kind of elitism towards those who fall into financially dire straits.

I'm with you on this one.

How we define ourselves can make the job easier or harder for our owners.

I think the article is onto something.
All I can add is some historical perspective.

During the era of President Woodrow Wilson,
Middle class was defined as a family with one to three servants.
That is to say that the family made enough to keep a house,
and employ up to three other people to help keeping that house.
To be lower class, in those days, only meant that one couldn't afford servants.
That is to say that one could afford to pay at least one other person a yearly wage
high enough to live comfortably and maybe even go to college.

Whereas the article does a lot of talking about how this days, so-called, middle class
has to double, or triple up, on their roommates just to make the bills.

Take a famous example, the Wright Brothers.
Two humble, middle class men, who could afford to do their own experiments,
and had the free time to test and develop them.

Personally my feelings are that our owners think that they are doing us a favor
by weighing us down with meagre wages and mounting debt.
Cause, they reason to them selves, with free time we just make trouble.
So they are sparing us by keeping us too busy to live.

David Grouchy

    Middle-Class Living Standard 1896
    Monthly budget
    "Food and lights" $75.00
    [color=gold]Servants $29.00
    Rent 42.00
    Coal 12.00
    Water 4.00
    TOTAL = $162.00 a month
    Income = $3,500 a year

* This list was prepaird by Professor Woodrow Wilson's wife, for a middle class salary of $3,500 a year

"A history of The United States, Since 1865
T. Harry Williams, Louisian State University
Richard N. Current, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Frank Friedel, Harvard University
(c) 1959
-page 272
edit on 16-3-2011 by davidgrouchy because: spelling

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 12:10 AM
Thats interesting to see David.

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 06:09 AM
reply to post by davidgrouchy

According to this inflation calculator; $3,500 in 1896 would be about $90,000 today.

More interestingly though, an essay written in 1896 on the income distribution of the United States showed that the top 1% earned about 25% of the income, while the bottom 50% recieved about 20%. (pgs. 128 & 129)

Today, however, the top 1% hold about 42% of the wealth while the bottom 80% hold just 7% (as shown here) of the wealth. Indicating that wealth distribution today is worse than it was over 100 years ago.

With this information I'm not trying to say poverty is actually higher, as the OP suggests, but I am saying it seems like it should be higher with consideration to income distribution.

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 06:27 AM
The poverty level is going to vary dependent on the location of residence and occupation.
I separate the two because it's possible to live in one place and work in another, remote location, thus earn more income working where wages are higher while living where costs are lower.

A studio apartment around where I live (Southern California) can run around 700 per month. Basic telephone service is around 40, (natural) gas for stoves is around 20, electricity can vary but my two-story 3BR uses between 75-90 without running the A/C so a studio apartment should be comparable, if not less.
Basic rent for a studio is 8400 annually.
Basic telephone would be 480 annually.
Electricity would be around 1080 annually.
Natural gas would be around 240 annually.
So a total of 10,200 to get by in SoCal... one of the higher "cost of living" areas.

Yeah, I know I didn't include food, so I'll throw that in now.

I feed a family of 3 with around 350 a month, so 1 should cost around... okay, 150 a month.

10,200 + 1,800 = 12,000 per annum.

Now, if you want a cell phone, car, car insurance and such, tack those on top. And if you're minimum wage / poverty level you can get health insurance for very little cost, if not completely free, under at least 15 year old existing indigent care / medi-cal / medi-care programs so you don't need the new national plan and the taxes it puts on you, therefore you can count that out as an expense.

But 12,000 a year... that equates down to what... 1000 a month, 4 weeks a month... 6.25 an hour would cover that if taxes weren't witheld. Go figure, they won't be because you're below the poverty level... and you'll likely get a refund on top that at the end of the year, too.

edit on 3/16/2011 by abecedarian because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 06:31 AM
reply to post by links234

Income distribution is only but one of many factors.

Even considering the cost of living, adjusted, regardless of how much the "wealthy" earn or how many of them there are, it's not much, if any more difficult for the (relatively larger number of) poor to get by today than it was then.

edit on 3/16/2011 by abecedarian because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 09:25 AM
And like he said these are averages ofcourse some will pay more and some will pay less. but it sounds like this is for someone that lives alone and has no roomates

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 04:31 PM
There is another thread here that says 42% of millionaires say they are not welthy.

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 11:33 PM
reply to post by abecedarian

I would somewhat would completly depend on what your definition of 'getting by' is.

Consider the number of people here who consider that electricty and a phone are a basic necessity in todays world. Without these, they wouldn't be 'getting by'. This is not to say I disagree with them, technological advances have made it so that these are bare minimums in our society.

100 years ago the bare necessities were a house, food, clothing and coal. According to some records this thread has uncovered, a vast majority of the population was able to sustain these things and more, making them middle class.

It's when we're unable to sustain these bare essentials in our society that we begin to consider ourselves, or others, impoverished. Not necessarily an arbitrary number. In my opinion though, we shouldn't look at what we think the poverty level should be because of the above factors...but we should look at why we think that way, are we conditioned into it?

posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 01:00 AM
I'm a single mother of two children.I realized I need to support my family and became a lpn(low end nurse)My first
job was great 40,000 a year ,in the union,had insurance.Things seemed good.3years down the road new management is hired and the old employees were out...between this time my oldest son comes home with a girl at both the age of 15 who doesn't have the best of a home life.So now I am a single mother of three.(I'm not complaining I love this girl)...Okay, of course at 18years old now the girl becomes pregnant, just before I was let go.My house is falling apart because as a single female that had to go to school and work to keep my head above water there was no time or money to fix it.Lucky ,my parent had a old large home and since my fathers factory moved to Mexico the thought of me being able to help with bills made it acceptable.So I have a new job making less but its a nice job,no insurance, but its a nice job...Things seem good again.My grand-baby is great my son works at a Chinese restaraunt.There are 7 of us living in this big house but its working....Then I fall on my house steps and brake both sides of my leg,no insurance ,I cann't get up.The ambulance comes $305.00
the ER doctor $703.00.Surgery $38,000(more then I make in a year.$31,000)The 5day stay in the hospital has not been total yet.Oh one more the anesthesiologist $998.00.So over 40,000 dollars so far and I can't work for over 8 weeks...So far I've been shot down for help it seems 31,000 dollars a year is alot of money these days...Thanks if you read this rant I just need to get this off my chest.

posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 05:39 PM
The cost of living is at an all time high

posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 05:50 PM
i couldn't imagine being buried like that.
most of what's mentioned on the list is nonexisent for me.
i pay 145 a year for r.v. insurance, no health, no college payment, no cable, cell phone about 20 bucks a month etc....

i'm doing just fine living on far less, i wish more americans would just realize the old hippy statement is basically true.

live simply so that others may simply live.
edit on 17-3-2011 by rubbertramp because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 07:21 PM

Today, however, the top 1% hold about 42% of the wealth while the bottom 80% hold just 7% (as shown here) of the wealth. Indicating that wealth distribution today is worse than it was over 100 years ago.

The real cost of illiteracy is poverty.
In order to keep the vast majority of people in deveolped countries poor,
two things have to happen.
laws, science, and medicine have to be made into specialists-only-cryto-language,
super wealthy people have to be averaged in to make the median income look ok.

This makes literate people effectively illiterate,
and justifies more money going to the top so the average still looks normal.

David Grouchy
edit on 18-3-2011 by davidgrouchy because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 20 2011 @ 01:54 PM
Hmmm... What could I get by on? I added comments to what was from the article.

Rent – $1,000 (This can vary based on location. But for somewhere reasonably safe and not a slum, in my region that's the going rate.)

Car Insurance – $144.66 $260 every 6 mo. So $43/mo. However this has a much higher deductible for any real crash, and doesn't cover dings and dents anymore. Just enough so I can drive legally.

Cell Phone – $73 Prepaid... $100/yr. thus $8.33/mo.

Utilities – $264.33

Cable/Internet – $100.63

Food – $332

Gas – $220 $120 I don't do that much driving.

Car Payment – $466 Mine was $250/mo. But now it's a 10yr old car and paid for, thankfully. Unless you count taxes (registration), then it's $100/yr. or $8.33/mo

10% savings for retirement – $385 Savings but less, and for whatever let alone retirement. It's whatever I don't spend.

College loan payment – $575 Paid off... But just barely. Seems like it was a waste of money now though.

Life Insurance – $33 No kids, no S.O. What's the point?

Health Insurance – $402 Problem? Yes. I have to just not get sick, or go to the county public health clinic and wait if things get really bad.

Of course I don't have a job to float the $22,519.44 that I could get by on in a year, because every time I apply anywhere I never hear back. It would be nice to make $30,000 a year, because then I could get on with my life. And it's been that way for three years now.
So count me in as part of the boomerang generation. So that knocks it down to the car, phone, and some food on my budget... That comes out of my savings from back when I did have a job. And trust me, I feel too old to be where I am under my parents roof. I try to help and otherwise stay out of the way of the old folks and not be too much a burden, but what can I do? It beats living out on the street. (I'd probably end up like that apologetic "shower guy" reporting his own breaking & entering to 911 in the local news not too long ago.)

posted on Mar, 20 2011 @ 03:34 PM
i just reread this and it still seems to make sence to me guys.

posted on Mar, 23 2011 @ 10:49 PM

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