Friday, November 04, 2011

Poverty in U.S. Lower Than Reported

We are frequently bombarded by reports about how bad things are in America for the poor. Nations not friendly to the U.S. often use our own statistics to convince their populations that life in America is intolerable. Well, it turns out the statistics are flawed.

As reported in the The New York Times, those compiling the numbers for the government have ignored all the benefits, such as food stamps, that the poor receive. It turns out that when the calculations are done correctly, the rise in poverty since 2006 is less than half of what was previously reported.

This is not to say that poverty is not a problem. It is. We should continue to make serious efforts to address the needs of the truly needy. Yet poverty in the United States is not the same thing as poverty in most parts of the world. The average American who officially lives in poverty eats regular meals, has a place to live with heat in the winter time, and owns both a car and a color television set. In many places of the world, this person would be considered very well off.