What constitutes poverty and its measurement is complex and varies globally. Usually, poverty is defined by economic deprivation, but recently social scientists refer to relative depletion of any resource—the spirit, basic needs, health, and social exclusion. The United States’ current official poverty measure, developed in the 1960s, consists of a set of thresholds for families of different sizes and compositions that are compared with before-tax cash income and are adjusted for inflation. The official poverty thresholds represent the cost of a minimum diet (food bundle) multiplied by three (because food expenditures account for one-third of after-tax income). Over the past five decades, researchers and policymakers have questioned the adequacy of this measure. Attempts have been made to revise the poverty measure (with the supplemental poverty ...

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