Thursday, September 15, 2011

America's Poor

According to the Census Bureau 46 million Americans live at a level of poverty that allows them to be considered "poor" by the United States Government.  But being poor in America is a little bit different than being poor in third world countries. 

For example:
1)  Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

2)   Fully 92 percent of poor households have a microwave; two-thirds have at least one DVD player and 70 percent have a VCR.

3)  Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite television.

4)  Half have a personal computer; one in seven have two or more computers.

5)  More than half of poor families with children have a video game system such as Xbox or PlayStation.

6)   Just under half — 43 percent — have Internet access.

7)  A third have a widescreen plasma or LCD TV.

8)  One in every four has a digital video recorder such as TiVo.

9)  The average poor American has more living space than the average non-poor individual living in Sweden, France, Germany or the United Kingdom.

10)   Forty-two percent of all poor households own their home; on average, it’s a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

11)  Nearly 75 percent have a car or truck; 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks.

12)   Four out of five poor adults assert they were never hungry at any time in the prior year due to lack of money for food.

I do not list this data to suggest there is no suffering in America.  There is drug use, child neglect, homelessness...

But I think of the movie Arthur and Grandma Bach telling her grandson, "You can't be poor, Arthur...  You don't know how!"  Well, obviously there are people in America who have figured it out.


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