The Challenge

Chapter Four: Economic Insecurity Today

A. The Official Definition of Poverty

Preventing poverty requires understanding what we mean by the word "poverty." Unfortunately, the government has confused this straightforward issue by establishing an official definition of poverty that is grossly inaccurate. According to the government, in 1994 single persons with monthly incomes below $625 were counted as "poor," as were families of four with monthly incomes below $1,250. Using these "poverty lines," or "thresholds," the government reported that thirty-eight million Americans