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admin | Weight Loss Fitness Program | 06.04.2013
Liberals use the declining relative prices of many amenities to argue that it is no big deal that poor households have air conditioning, computers, cable TV, and wide-screen TV. Although the mainstream media broadcast alarming stories about widespread and severe hunger in the nation, in reality, most of the poor do not experience hunger or food shortages. Other government surveys show that the average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and is well above recommended norms in most cases. By their own reports, the average poor person had sufficient funds to meet all essential needs and to obtain medical care for family members throughout the year whenever needed. The fact that the average poor household has many modern conveniences and experiences no substantial hardships does not mean that no families face hardships. Chart 1 shows ownership of property and consumer durables among poor households based on data from the 2009 American Housing Survey,[4] which was conducted by the U.S. Of course, nearly all poor households have commonplace amenities such as color TVs, telephones, and kitchens equipped with an oven, stove, and refrigerator.
In 2005, more than half of poor households had at least five of the following 10 conveniences: a computer, cable or satellite TV, air conditioning, Internet service, a large-screen TV, non-portable stereo, computer printer, separate freezer or second refrigerator, microwave, and at least one color TV. Since 2005, the share of poor households having air conditioning, computers, wide-screen TVs, Internet service, and microwaves has increased significantly.
Liberals use the declining relative prices of many amenities to argue that it is no big deal that poor households have air conditioning, computers, and cable TV.
Malnutrition (also called undernutrition) is a condition of reduced health due to a chronic shortage of calories and nutriments.
Examination of the average nutriment consumption of Americans reveals that age and gender play a far greater role than income class in determining nutritional intake. Table 1 shows the average intake of protein, vitamins, and minerals as a percentage of the RDA among poor and middle-class children at various age levels.[10] The intake of nutriments is very similar for poor and middle-class children and is generally well above the recommended daily level. When shortfalls of specific vitamins and minerals appear (for example, among teenage girls), they tend to be very similar for the poor and the middle class. Throughout this century, improvements in nutrition and health have led to increases in the growth rate and the ultimate height and weight of American children. The current deep recession and prolonged high levels of unemployment have made it much more difficult for families to have a steady supply of food. At times, these households worried that food would run out, ate unbalanced meals, and relied on cheaper foods. Very low food security is almost always an intermittent and episodic problem for families rather than a chronic condition.
Although news stories often suggest that poverty and homelessness are similar, this is inaccurate.
Poor American households tend to have somewhat more people on average than do European households; nonetheless, as Table 5 shows, at 515 square feet per person, the average poor American has more living space than the average citizen—not just the poor—in every European nation except Luxembourg and Denmark.
In 2005, the typical poor household, as defined by the federal government, had air conditioning and a car. In 2008, federal and state governments spent $714 billion on means-tested welfare programs, but the Census Bureau counted only about 4 percent of this as money income in determining whether a household was poor.
Despite the dominant role of the decline of marriage in child poverty, this issue is taboo in most anti-poverty discussions.
The welfare system needs to be transformed to further reduce child poverty and to promote prosperous self-sufficiency.
The living conditions of the poor as defined by the government bear little resemblance to notions of “poverty” promoted by politicians and political activists. In 2005, the typical poor household as defined by the government had a car and air conditioning.
Poor families certainly struggle to make ends meet, but in most cases, they are struggling to pay for air conditioning and the cable TV bill as well as to put food on the table. Nonetheless, the living standards of most poor households are far different from what the public imagines and differ greatly from the images of dramatic hardship conveyed by advocacy groups and the mainstream media.


In 2010, government means-tested assistance averaged nearly $9,000 for each poor and low-income American. For most Americans, the word “poverty” suggests near destitution: an inability to provide nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter for one’s family. They contend, polemically, that even though most poor families may have a house full of modern conveniences, the average poor family still suffers from substantial deprivation in basic needs, such as food and housing. The poor clearly struggle to make ends meet, but they are generally struggling to pay for cable TV, air conditioning, and a car, as well as for food on the table. As noted, the overwhelming majority of the poor are well housed and not overcrowded, but one in 25 will become temporarily homeless during the year. Among families with children, the collapse of marriage and erosion of the work ethic are the principal long-term causes of poverty. While material hardship does exist in the United States, it is restricted in scope and severity. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Census Bureau, and the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey, which was conducted by the U.S. Median or average poor households (five of 10 amenities) most commonly had air conditioning, cable TV, a stereo, microwave, and at least one TV. They contend that even though most poor families have houses full of modern conveniences, the average poor family still suffers from serious deprivation in basic needs, such as food, nutrition, and housing.[6] While such an outcome is theoretically possible, this paper demonstrates that this is not the case. In general, children who are 0–11 years old have the highest average level of nutriment intakes relative to the recommended daily allowance (RDA), followed by adult and teen males. For example, the consumption of protein (a relatively expensive nutriment) among poor children averages between 150 percent and 267 percent of the RDA. While poor teenage girls, on average, tend to underconsume vitamin E, vitamin B-6, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and zinc, a virtually identical underconsumption of these same nutriments appears among upper-middle-class girls. On average, poor children are very well nourished, and there is no evidence of widespread significant undernutrition. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) states that on a given night in 2009, some 643,000 persons in the U.S.
Individuals typically lose housing, reside in an emergency shelter for a few weeks or months, and then reenter permanent housing. In reality, the gap between the living conditions of a homeless person and the typical poor household are proportionately as great as the gap between the poor household and a middle-class family in the suburbs. As Chart 7 and Table 5 show, on average, the dwellings of poor Americans are about two-thirds the size of the average U.S.
For entertainment, the household had two color TVs, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR. As the War on Poverty expanded benefits, welfare began to serve as a substitute for a husband in the home, and low-income marriage began to disappear. If poverty is defined as lacking adequate nutritious food for one’s family, a reasonably warm and dry apartment, or a car to go to work when one is needed, then the United States has relatively few poor persons. While poor households certainly are not sitting in the lap of luxury, their actual living standards are far different from the images of dire deprivation promoted by activists and the mainstream media.
Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, “Diet Quality of Low-Income and Higher Income Americans in 2003–04 as Measured by the Healthy Eating Index–2005,” Nutrition Insight, No.
The average poor person is far from affluent, but his lifestyle is far from the images of stark deprivation purveyed equally by advocacy groups and the media. While most of the poor have a sufficient and fairly steady supply of food, one in five poor adults will experience temporary food shortages and hunger at some point in a year.
The typical “poor” American lives in an air-conditioned house or apartment and has cable TV, a car, multiple color TVs, a DVD player, and a VCR among other conveniences.
Over time, prices fall sharply, and the product saturates the entire population including poor households. In fact, the overwhelming majority of poor households have an adequate and reasonably steady supply of food, are not hungry, and are well housed.


It is often believed that a lack of financial resources forces poor people to eat low-quality diets that are deficient in nutriments and high in fat, but survey data show that nutriment density (amount of vitamins, minerals, and protein per kilocalorie of food) does not vary by income class.[7] Nor do the poor consume higher-fat diets than do members of the middle class. For example, two indicators of undernutrition among the young are “thinness” (low weight for height) and stuntedness (low height for age). Today, poor boys at ages 18 and 19 are actually taller and heavier than boys of similar age in the general U.S. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio. Some 70 percent of poor households report that during the course of the past year, they were able to meet “all essential expenses,” including mortgage, rent, utility bills, and important medical care.
In addition, the welfare system should support and encourage, rather than penalize, marriage. By its own report, the family was not hungry and had sufficient funds during the previous year to meet all essential needs. Although most poor families are well housed, a small minority are homeless.[55] Although most poor families are well fed and have a fairly stable food supply, a sizeable minority experiences temporary shortages in food supply at various times during the year. Its annual poverty report is inaccurate and misleading in part because nearly all of the welfare state is excluded from its poverty calculations. In terms of its original goal of making poor Americans self-sufficient and prosperous through their own abilities, the War on Poverty has been a colossal failure. Even more important, the welfare system needs to abandon its 50-year-old tradition of ignoring, dismissing, and penalizing marriage.
Gross exaggeration of the extent and severity of hardships in America will not benefit society, the taxpayers, or the poor. It should also strengthen marriage in low-income communities rather than ignore and penalize it. While some of the poor face significant material hardship, formulating a sound, long-term anti-poverty policy that addresses the causes as well as the symptoms of poverty will require honest and accurate information. Other household conveniences included a clothes washer, clothes dryer, ceiling fans, a cordless phone, and a coffee maker. President Lyndon Johnson intended for the War on Poverty to make Americans self-sufficient and prosperous through their own abilities, not through increased reliance on government aid.
It should embark on a new course to strengthen and rebuild marriage in low-income communities. Exaggerating the extent and severity of hardships will not benefit society, the taxpayers, or the poor.
They reveal that the actual standard of living of America’s poor—in terms of amenities in the home, housing, food consumption, and nutrition—is far higher than expected.
For example, more than 70 means-tested welfare programs provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income persons,[46] including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), food stamps, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food program, public housing, and Medicaid. In 2010, government spent $871 billion on means-tested welfare programs that provided cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income Americans.[56] Virtually none of this assistance is counted as income for purposes of the Census Bureau’s estimations of poverty or inequality. At times during the year, households with low food security “worried whether our food would run out” and “couldn’t afford balanced meals.” They at times reduced food quality and variety and used “a few kinds of low cost food” to stretch their food dollars, but these households for the most part “avoided substantial reductions or disruptions in food intake” throughout the year. The War on Poverty created a destructive feedback loop: Welfare undermined marriage, and this generated a need for more welfare. Department of Health and Human Services, based on the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.



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