The current poverty threshold for a family of three is $17,600. AnswerParty later!
The poverty threshold, or poverty line, is the minimum level of income deemed adequate in a particular country. In practice, like the definition of poverty, the official or common understanding of the poverty line is significantly higher in developed countries than in developing countries. The common international poverty line has in the past been roughly $1 a day. In 2008, the World Bank came out with a revised figure of $1.25 at 2005 purchasing-power parity (PPP).
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. The largest of these expenses 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 affector. Individual factors are often used to account for various circumstances, such as whether one is a parent, elderly, a child, married, etc. The poverty threshold may be adjusted annually.
Poverty in the United States
Welfare economics is a branch of economics that uses microeconomic techniques to evaluate well-being from allocation of productive factors as to desirability and economic efficiency within an economy, often relative to competitive general equilibrium. It analyzes social welfare, however measured, in terms of economic activities of the individuals that compose the theoretical society considered. Accordingly, individuals, with associated economic activities, are the basic units for aggregating to social welfare, whether of a group, a community, or a society, and there is no "social welfare" apart from the "welfare" associated with its individual units.
Welfare economics typically takes individual preferences as given and stipulates a welfare improvement in Pareto efficiency terms from social state A to social state B if at least one person prefers B and no one else opposes it. There is no requirement of a unique quantitative measure of the welfare improvement implied by this. Another aspect of welfare treats income/goods distribution, including equality, as a further dimension of welfare.
Poverty is a state of privation, or a lack of the usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. The most common measure of poverty in the U.S. is the "poverty threshold" set by the U.S. government. This measure recognizes poverty as a lack of those goods and services commonly taken for granted by members of mainstream society. The official threshold is adjusted for inflation using the consumer price index. The government's definition of poverty is based on total income received. For example, the poverty level for 2012 was set at $23,050 (total yearly income) for a family of four. Most Americans (58.5%) will spend at least one year below the poverty line at some point between ages 25 and 75. Poverty rates are persistently higher in rural and inner city parts of the country as compared to suburban areas.
In November 2012 the U.S. Census Bureau said more than 16% of the population lived in poverty in the United States, including almost 20% of American children, up from 14.3% (approximately 43.6 million) in 2009 and to its highest level since 1993. In 2008, 13.2% (39.8 million) Americans lived in poverty. California has a poverty rate of 23.5%, the highest of any state in the country.
Asset poverty is an economic and social condition that is more persistent and prevalent than income poverty. It can be defined as a household’s inability to access wealth resources that are sufficient enough to provide for basic needs for a period of three months. Basic needs refer to the minimum standards for consumption and acceptable needs. Wealth resources consist of home ownership, other real estate (second home, rented properties, etc.), net value of farm and business assets, stocks, checking and savings accounts, and other savings (money in savings bonds, life insurance policy cash values, etc.). Wealth is measured in three forms: net worth, net worth minus home equity, and liquid assets. Net worth consists of all the aspects mentioned above. Net worth minus home equity is the same except it does not include home ownership in asset calculations. Liquid assets are resources that are readily available such as cash, checking and savings accounts, stocks, and other sources of savings. There are two types of assets: tangible and intangible. Tangible assets most closely resemble liquid assets in that they include stocks, bonds, property, natural resources, and hard assets not in the form of real estate. Intangible assets are simply the access to credit, social capital, cultural capital, political capital, and human capital.
There are trends in the development of asset poverty over time and several factors that cause certain groups to fall into asset poverty more easily than others. Changes in these factors and structures have occurred over the years, but asset poverty is continually higher than other forms of poverty such as income poverty. The reason for this difference is that asset poverty accounts for a household’s total wealth, and not just the current income level. It provides a more accurate description of a household’s true financial state. Wealth leads to increased economic security and assets create a form of security during hardship. One can use assets to pay for further education, better housing, or to maintain a certain standard of living after retirement. Households lacking sufficient assets are forced to live from paycheck to paycheck and face economic hardship when changes in income occur. Those who lack adequate assets are unable to seek a better lifestyle and improve their quality of life because they lack the financial resources to do so.
Concentrated poverty refers to a spatial density of socio-economic deprivation. In the US it is commonly used in fields of policy and scholarship in reference to areas of "extreme" or "high-poverty" defined by the US census as areas with "40 percent of the tract population living below the federal poverty threshold." A large body of literature argues that these areas of concentrated poverty place additional burdens on poor families that live within them, beyond what the families own individual circumstances would dictate. The research also indicates that areas of concentrated poverty can have wider effects on surrounding neighborhoods, not classified as "high-poverty," limiting overall economic potential and social cohesion.
A social issue (also called a social problem or a social situation) is an issue that relates to society's perception of a person's personal lives. Different cultures have different perceptions and what may be "normal" behavior in one society may be a significant social issue in another society. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues. Some issues have both social and economic aspects, such as immigration. There are also issues that don't fall into either category, such as wars.
Thomas Paine, in Rights of Man and Common Sense, addresses man's duty to "allow the same rights to others as we allow ourselves". The failure to do so causes the birth of a social issue.
A disaster is a natural or man-made (or technological) hazard resulting in an event of substantial extent causing significant physical damage or destruction, loss of life, or drastic change to the environment. A disaster can be ostensively defined as any tragic event stemming from events such as earthquakes, floods, catastrophic accidents, fires, or explosions. It is a phenomenon that can cause damage to life and property and destroy the economic, social and cultural life of people.
In contemporary academia, disasters are seen as the consequence of inappropriately managed risk. These risks are the product of a combination of both hazard/s and vulnerability. Hazards that strike in areas with low vulnerability will never become disasters, as is the case in uninhabited regions.