Poverty

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Poverty in America: Then and Now

Many things contribute to the poverty rate in America: education, minimum wage and housing, just to name a few. The first reliable poverty rate was documented in 1959. How much have things changed since the 1960s?

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Poverty Facts

Total number of Americans below poverty line (1)

1960s: 39 million

Today: 46.5 million

Percentage of Americans below poverty line (2)

1960s: 22%

Today: 15%

Income

Median household income (3,4)

1960s: $6,500 (2014 dollars: $51,524) (18)

Today: $51, 371

Income tax rates (mid-tier) (5)

1960s: 23%

Today: 17%

Minimum wage (6)

1960s: $1.29/hour (2014 dollars: $10.23/hour) (18)

Today: $7.25/hour

Unemployment rate (7)

1960s: 5.5%

Today: 7.4%

Education

Literacy rates (8,9)

1960s: 97%

Today: 99%

High school completion (percentage of 25 or older population) (4)

1960s: 42%

Today: 80%

College completion (percentage of 25 or older population) (4)

1960s: 8%

Today: 24%

Home Life

Average cost of a house (4)

1960s: $20,000 (2014 dollars: $158,536) (18)

Today: $272,900

Average food costs (10)

1960s

Bread, $0.21 (2014 dollars: $1.66) (18)

Dozen eggs, $0.46 (2014 dollars: $3.65) (18)

Today

Bread, $1.29

Dozen eggs, $1.69

Average gasoline costs (11)

1960s

$0.35/gallon (2014 dollars: $2.77/gallon) (18)

Today

$3.64/gallon

Health care expenditures per capita (12)

1960s: $147 (2014 dollars: $1,165) (18)

Today: $8,402

Marriage rates (of population 18 and older) (13)

1960s: 72%

Today: 51%

Government

Fixed poverty thresholds (14,15)

1960s

Individuals, $1,500 per year (2014 dollars: $11,890) (18)

Families, $3,000 per year (2014 dollars: $23,780) (18)

Today

Individuals, $11,670 per year

Families of four, $23,850 per year

Important legislation (16,17)

1960s

Economic Opportunity Act (1964)

Food Stamp Act (1964)

Medicaid (1965)

Amendments to Social Security (1965)

Today

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009)

Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) (renamed in 2008)

Affordable Care Act (2010)

Poverty

Sources:

1. http://www.npr.org
2. http://feedingamerica.org
3. http://www.stanford.edu
4. http://www.census.gov
5. http://qz.com
6. http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org
7. http://data.bls.gov
8. http://www.indexmundi.com
9. https://www.cia.gov
10. http://www.clearpictureonline.com
11. http://www.theaustinrealestateexperts.com
12. http://www.advisory.com
13. http://www.pewsocialtrends.org
14. http://www.ssa.gov
15. http://aspe.hhs.gov
16. http://guides.ucf.edu
17. http://www.whitehouse.gov
18. http://www.dollartimes.com