Are There Really More Poor People Than Ever?
Last week on the air we were discussing a new study of how "they" say we are becoming poorer...are we? Of have our standards just become higher. There has always been wealth disparity in the United States. The Bible even says that the poor will always be with us. But how poor is poor?
We live in a country that has a standard of living that used to be second to no other nation. The poorest among us, those disenfranchised from their home nation, poor as church mice, could make it America. Yes, there was prejudice and bigotry, and even in some communities an invisible caste system, but those with determination could make it. There is a long history of entrepreneurship in America that has made the poorest among us rich. Consider the following:
- Forty-three percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
- Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
- Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
- The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
- Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.
- Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
- Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
- Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.
Are we really poor or just think we are?