Comments on: The depressing income and poverty data A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: woofer50 Thu, 14 Jul 2011 08:55:54 +0000 Milo, what on earth led you to believe that the poor are having more children than those of better economic stature? The number of children living in poverty is not an indication of increased breeding by the poor, but rather an indication of how poverty is spreading rapidly and now includes more and more families. Get your head out.

By: caveat bettor Mon, 14 Sep 2009 21:20:12 +0000 So sorry this is such a late comment to such an important, but household income can actually obfuscate important information, namely, household member income. If household sizes have shrunk faster than household income, then household members are still actually getting wealthier. An expected parallel trend in this situation would be that the number of households in the sample is rapidly increasing, too.

Here’s a good summary, from census data, that verifies the hypothesis: d-pe.html

By: Tim Worstall Sat, 12 Sep 2009 10:36:40 +0000 “Tim is right that the methodology is suspect, but is directionally wrong about the implications”

No, not really.

The new method moves from a measure of absolute poverty to a measure of relative poverty: as well as including the benefits that are on offer to those who would be in poverty without said benefits.

Census a few years back calculated the numbers in absolute poverty if benefits were included: the numbers fell dramatically.

That’s rather different from the effect of the move to relative poverty measures (like the less than 60% of median income that every other country uses).

By: ajw Fri, 11 Sep 2009 19:11:58 +0000 Tim is right that the methodology is suspect, but is directionally wrong about the implications – the new proposed way of counting poverty (which per the article below sounds like it will address most of his points) actually shows significantly HIGHER levels of poverty.

Article: cle/ALeqM5icMvnVwEYqBZqYTv57CCUVgopUvwD9 AGH3RO0

The overall official poverty rate would increase, from 12.5 percent to 15.3 percent, for a total of 45.7 million people, according to rough calculations by the Census Bureau. Data on all segments, not only the elderly, would be affected:

_ The rate for children under 18 in poverty would decline slightly, to 17.9 percent.

_ Single mothers and their children, who disproportionately receive food stamps, would see declines in the rates of poverty because noncash aid would be taken into account. Low-income people who are working could see increases in poverty rates, a reflection of transportation and child-care costs.

_ Cities with higher costs of living, such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco, would see higher poverty rates, while more rural areas in the Midwest and South might see declines.

_ The rate for extreme poverty, defined as income falling below 50 percent of the poverty line, would decrease due to housing and other noncash benefits.

_ Immigrant poverty rates would go up, due to transportation costs and lower participation in government aid programs.

By: Lord Fri, 11 Sep 2009 02:00:50 +0000 (whether that is enough or not is an entirely separate matter)

By: Tim Worstall Thu, 10 Sep 2009 20:23:40 +0000 “Oh, and the number of people in poverty”


“basically one child in every five is living in poverty in the US.”

No again.

Felix, you really ought to know this. Shame on you for not.

US poverty figures are calculated entirely differently from those of every other country on the planet.

US figures are, market incomes plus cash benefits. Everyone else calculates them as (as well as being 60% of median income, rather than a measure of absolute income) post tax and post benefit system.

It is true to say that, looking at the US figures, x % are in poverty as defined by the way that we define poverty in the US. However, how do we alleviate poverty in the US? We offer food stamps (not cash, thus not counted) Medicaid ( benefit in kind, not counted), housing vouchers (not cash benefit, not counted) the EITC (through the tax system, not counted).

The US poverty rate is the number of people who would be living in poverty if they were not being helped. It is absolutely not a measure of how many people are living in poverty. For we do not count the help that people are receiving (whether that is enough or not is an entirely separate matter) when we calculate the poverty rate.

I’m simply astonished that you don’t know/choose to ignore that.

By: Uncle Billy, Mental Gidget Thu, 10 Sep 2009 19:48:25 +0000 Embrace the tin foil, Philly Boy. It’s the most honest thing your country has to offer you right now.

By: Philly Boy Thu, 10 Sep 2009 19:13:35 +0000 Based on the comments on this site so far, the proportion of U.S. citizens wearing tin-foil hats appears to be increasing.

By: Uncle Billy, Mental Gidget Thu, 10 Sep 2009 19:06:44 +0000 Mark Thoma points to this RAND – generated gem. (Did they come up with the “Ice-9″ codeword, by the way, for the frozen credit markets?) rs/2009/RAND_OP243.pdf

These guys are all sweetness and light, aren’t they?

Aside: We’re here on a Thomson-Reuters site. Assuming that Thomson-Reuters has an interest (monetary?) in affecting the mood of the country, why are they making us feel so depressed just like RAND is doing? It’s bad, of course, but the Mighty Wurlitzer that is pumping out all the doom again seems like it’s being played by a master of gothic church music. You even use the term “depressing” just like Krugman used to do all the time until he got called on it. What interest does the company have in depressing us?

By: Dan Thu, 10 Sep 2009 18:23:39 +0000 Here’s the deal as I see it 30-something who would have a much harder time if I were entering the workforce today. Today’s young people, especially Gen Y, have a smaller share of the financial pie (income and assets) of any similar cohort in the past. Young adults are the ones of child-bearing age.

There are a couple points that come to mind:

(1) Financial benefits to the old (who may in fact be quite well-off) are huge. A 65 year old millionaire can get free medical and collect social security on the back of a younger underclass.

(2) Whereas in places such as Europe people generally leave the workforce after around 60, workers stay on much longer in America. When job creation is nil over a decade, this means that companies are not finding room for new hires.

(3) Where workers do find work in a larger, older corporation, they are unlikely to be compensated as well as in generations past, due to lavish benefits often still being paid to their predecessors, which they are unlikely to ever receive.

This is a catastrophe because there are the makings of a lost generation in America, who are on average poorer than their parents.

What are the solutions for overburdened young people, including those who are not poor?
– Live simply. Simpler house, car, staycations, etc.
– Ain’t no shame in receiving help, be it money, child care, or (temporary) housing from your elders. They had a lot of benefits that you won’t have.
– Engage in more non-economic activity. Example 1: Rather than two incomes taxed at a high rate with one income going largely to childcare and taxes, just go with one income and have a far higher quality of life. Example 2: Do your own cooking rather than eating out, do your own gardening, house-cleaning and repair work rather than hiring people for these things. The marginal tax rates on those last dollars of income will be very high.