What does it mean to be poor? What does it mean to describe a nation as "developing"? A lack of material wealth does not define one as deprived. A strong economy in a developed nation does not mean much when a significant percentage or a majority of the population is struggling to survive. Development usually implies an improvement in living standards such that a person has enough food, water, and clothing, a stable social environment, freedom, and basic rights to have a fair chance for a decent life. Is this actually progress? On the other hand, are we fooled into believing that it is?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services placed the poverty level for a family of four at $16,450 in 1998, and the poverty rate in 1996, according to the HHS, was 13.7 percent, or 36.5 million Americans. (Egendorf: 1999, 12). Is there really a way to measure poverty, and to decide exactly what poverty is? Hunger, income level, housing and the economy's condition of the working poor are just a few example of what needs to be considered when measuring the poverty levels in our nation. Poverty expands and contracts and its definition changes in accordance with temporary... [continues]
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