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Truth Alert: American "Poor"

(April 23, 2003)

On January 5, 2004 the Heritage Foundation released a report entitled Understanding Poverty in America.  This report said a lot of things about "poverty" in America.  Interestingly enough, the following statistics were noted families living in "poverty":
  1. 46% of poor households in America own their own homes.
  2. Of all “poor” households in America, about 75% own a car and 30% own two or more cars!
  3. 97% of such households have a color TV; 50% own two or more color televisions.
  4. 78% have a VCR or DVD player; 62% have cable or satellite TV reception
  5. 25% (one quarter) of these homes have a BIG SCREEN TV! 
  6. Microwave ovens exist in 73% of poor households 50% have a stereo (luxury item), and 33% own dishwasher.
  7. “The typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe.”  In other words, from the data, the poor in America have about 116% of the housing space of the AVERAGE citizen of countries like the UK, France and Germany.  Our poor are better off than any other country’s AVERAGE citizen!
  8. 76% of households classified as “poor” in America have air conditioning.
  9. 26% have a cell phone
  10. 24% have a computer
  11. Almost 100% (98.9% to be exact) have a refrigerator to help keep their food fresh longer!  This also means that they all have electricity!
  12. 54% live in a single-family dwelling!
  13. Only 5% of the nation’s poor have more than one person per room in their house! 68% have less than half a person per room or two rooms per person or MORE!
  14. Only 4% of poor households in the United States have “severe physical problems” and half of those are attributed to “a shared bathroom, which occurs when occupants lack a bathroom and must share bathroom facilities with individuals in a neighboring unit.”
  15. A mere 2% of poor households have been listed as “Often Did Not Have Enough Food to Eat Due to Lack of Money” and 9% “Sometimes Did Not Have Enough Food to Eat Due to Lack of Money”.  Also note that “Hunger” is a subjective term.  I am hungry right now but it does not have anything to do with my financial state.
  16. 70% claimed that they were able to meet all essential household expenses (rent, mortgage, utility, etc)
Now, look at those items in big, bold, red text.  Each of those items are luxuries. Yet, we see that American "poor" can afford to have a VCR and DVD and air conditioning (the most common luxuries).

Also note number 15 where we see that only 2% often do not have enough food and 9% "sometimes" don't have enough food.  This is the MOST telling statistic as food is essential for life.

Are they really "poor"?  So poor that we have to call them "po" because they can't afford the second o much less the r?  Not most of them to be sure, although there certainly are some in there for varying reasons but as we see they are even a small percentage of the percentage of poor in the United States.

For a more complete discussion and oppinion on this topic read Our Poor Are NOT Poor.

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