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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Nickel and Dimed Part 1

What does it mean to be poor?

Well, it depends on who you ask, when, and where. The most basic and widely accepted definition of poverty, sounds similar to: when the income of an individual or family cannot meet reach the amount of money necessary to meet basic needs (i.e. food, water, shelter, clothing, etc.). Even this definition is influenced by who you are, where you live, and at what point in time you are living. For example, depending on where you live, the prices of shelter and food may be higher than average, therefore increasing the threshold for poverty.

When people who aren't generally exposed to "poor people", are asked to imagine what a "poor person" would look like, they will generally tend to imagine someone who is homeless, jobless, and a beggar. However, as Barbara Ehrenreich found out first hand, this is often not the case. Many people who both by the government's and purely economic definition of poor are in an entirely separate class of society, the "working poor". "After all, almost 30 percent of the workforce toils for $8 an hour or less" in that same year of this study, "It took... an hourly wage of $8.89 to afford a one-bedroom apartment" (3). So, next time you imagine that you imagine "poor people", please, keep these statistics in mind before you judge their position based on their wealth.