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					Poverty
       Questions to Consider
• What is poverty?
  – What does it look like to be poor?
  – Why is there poverty?
  – Where is there poverty?


• What does a person need to have an
  adequate standard of living?
                Why does it matter?
• By understanding what poverty is, we acknowledge its
  existence.

• This is the first step to combating the hardships it creates.

• It brings awareness to the effects of scarcity and how it affects
  people.

• Awareness inspires activism.
 According to the United Nations
“Poverty: a human condition characterized by the
sustained or chronic deprivation of the resources,
capabilities, choices, security and power
necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate
standard of living and other civil, cultural,
economic, political and social rights.”
        What does this mean?
• lack of resources
   – Lack of materials necessary to survive

• lack of capabilities and choices
   – Lack of education and skills necessary to choose
     your future

• lack of security
   – Consistent exposure to violence and ongoing
     conflict
        What does this mean?
• lack of adequate standard of living
   – Safe and clean housing, healthcare and transportation
     are inaccessible (Standard of Living also encompasses
     resources, choices and security)

• lack of rights (civil, cultural, economic, political
  and social)
   – They are denied to you because of a weak or
     oppressive government
   – They are inaccessible to you because you are poor
     (lack an adequate Standard of Living)
       Why define poverty?
• The United Nations believes that poverty is as
  much a denial of natural rights as it is an
  economic struggle.

• Recognizing denial of rights is essential to
  restoring them.

• Only by knowing exactly what poverty is can we
  know how to eradicate it.
 How is the official UN
   definition used?
• Used to identify, assess and
  act effectively on global
  situations.
• Used as a standard or
  reference point across
  nations.
• Commonly measured as an
  income of $1 to $2 a day.
         Who uses this definition?
The following organizations use
this definition to help decide how to
best reduce poverty:

    International Organizations:
•UN: UNICEF, WHO, WFP
•World Bank
•IMF

Philanthropic Organizations/NGOs:
•Millennium Campaign
•ONE
•Oxfam
Who uses this definition?
             Governments use this
             definition to assess
             social and economic
             conditions to evaluate
             and carry out national
             economic policies and
             other programs to help
             the poor both within
             their own countries and
             abroad.
The United States
 United States Definition of Poverty
• Poverty in the US is officially defined by the US
  government.

• The Census Bureau uses a set of money income
  thresholds to determine who is in poverty.
   – This is money earned before taxes and does not include any non
     cash benefits such as food stamps.

• Thresholds are money income “minimums” based on
  specific details of a family.

• The "absolute poverty line" is the threshold below which
  families or individuals are considered to be lacking the
  resources to meet the basic needs for healthy living;
  having insufficient income to provide the food, shelter
  and clothing needed to preserve health. (HHS definition)
              How does it all add up?
2008 Poverty Thresholds, Selected     • Minimum Wage - The
          Family Types                  federal minimum wage
             Under 65
                           $ 11,201
                                        was increased 70 cents in
 Single      years                      July 2008, the second of
Individual   65 years &                 three steps to raise it
                           $ 10,326
             older                      from $5.15 an hour to
             One child     $ 14,840     $7.25 an hour by 2009.
 Single
Parent       Two
                           $ 17,346
             children                 • If someone works 40
             No children   $ 14,417     hours per week for 50
             One child     $ 17,330
                                        weeks a year earning
                                        minimum wage are they
 Two         Two
Adults                     $ 21,834     above or below the
             children                   thresholds?
             Three
                           $ 25,694
             children
          How does it all add up?
• Health Insurance - About
  47 million people (16%)
  were without health
  insurance coverage in 2006.
  This included about 9 million
  children.

• Federal Programs - In May
  2008, food stamp
  participation of about
  28,400,000 persons was up
  over the prior May by more
  than 2 million people.

• Need for Federal Funds -
  In 2007, 37.3 million people
  (12.5%) in the United States
  were in poverty.
        Why does the US have an official
             definition of poverty?
• Minimum Wage - The definition of poverty is taken into
  consideration when the federal government sets the
  minimum wage.

• Health Insurance - State and local governments may use
  the federal poverty definition to determine whether people
  qualify for state-funded health insurance programs.

• Federal Programs - The definition of poverty is used to
  determine eligibility for more than 25 government
  assistance programs such as the Food Stamp Program,
  National School Lunch Program.

• Allocation of Federal Funds - The definition of poverty is
  also looked at and is used to determine how to distribute
  Federal dollars in order to benefit the most people.
        Poverty in Mountain View
According to the 2000 Census:
•6.8% of the population and 3.6% of families in Mountain View had
incomes below the poverty line in 1999.

•5.3% of native-born residents live below the poverty line.

•7.0% of foreign-born residents live below the poverty line.

•7.2% of those under the age of 18 were living below the
poverty line.

•6% of Mountain View residents are below the poverty line
vs. 12% for the whole state.
  Teach-In Essential Questions
1. What is poverty?

2. Is poverty inevitable?

3. Is poverty best addressed through public
   or private efforts?
• Thresholds developed in 1963-1964 by Mollie
  Orshansky of the Social Security Administration
  (Original Purpose: To conduct studies about
  the Department of Agriculture’s food economy
  analyses)
• A few ways to understand poverty:
  -consumption based poverty: (minimum
  income)
  -poverty as a failure of capabilities: i.e. one fails
  to provide x, y, z for themselves.

				
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