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A.C. & an XBox: What does it mean to be 'poor' in America?


A new study out this week from the Heritage Foundation examines poverty in America and what it means to be "poor." Despite claims that most poor Americans struggle to afford basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter, statistical research suggests the majority of America's 40 million "poor" individuals enjoy relative comfort with modern amenities.

“Most news stories on poverty feature homeless families, people living in crumbling shacks, or lines of the downtrodden eating in soup kitchens. The actual living conditions of America’s poor are far different from these images," says Heritage Foundation senior researcher Robert Rector.

So what does poverty look like? These charts help further explain and show the negligible differences between U.S. households and those designated as "poor":

NRO's Ken McIntyre also points out that federal government data shows that the average poor family also:

Lives in a home that is in good repair, not crowded, and equipped with air conditioning, clothes washer and dryer, and cable or satellite TV service.

Prepares meals in a kitchen with a refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave as well as oven and stove.

Enjoys two color TVs, a DVD player, VCR and — if children are there — an Xbox, PlayStation, or other video game system.

Had enough money in the past year to meet essential needs, including adequate food and medical care.

Having traveled to countries and witnessed actual poverty, it always amazes me how the poorest people in America would still be considered extraordinarily rich in so many parts of the world.

Click here for more on the Heritage study

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