As part of the Blog Action Day and the PF Bloggers Group Writing Project today’s topic will be about poverty.

For our family of 4 the poverty line is $21,200.  That is very little, no doubt.  It works out to just over $400 a week, or $10 an hour.  It would be tough to support a family on $10 an hour, but it is possible.  I’ve written out a bare bones budget which came out to be $1,450 a month.  So yeah, it’s possible.  I would even have a little money left over.   What about taxes?  Well, I’m not a tax expert by any means, but I know when I was poor I didn’t pay any taxes.   I got a return for everything I paid, and then some.  When I hear the word “poverty” I don’t think a family, living in an apartment in a decent part of town, with health care, food, clean water, education for the children, ect. Granted, this is the “richest” you could be and still be considered in poverty.

Here is Wikipedia’s definition of PovertyPoverty (also called penury) is deprivation of common necessities that determine the quality of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, and may also include the deprivation of opportunities to learn, to obtain better employment to escape poverty, and/or to enjoy the respect of fellow citizens.

I don’t think the situation I described above would qualify as “poverty”.  Poor, sure.  But poverty?  Not according to official definitions.  I understand they have to put the cut off at some point.  They need to say these people are in poverty and these people are not.  And the cut off is as good as any.   But clearly the word poverty means different things here in America than it does in other countries.

India has the world’s largest number of poor people in a single country.  Thirty to forty percent of people are living under the poverty level.  And we are talking real poverty here.  They spend more than 80% of their income on food and many, if not most, are illiterate.  Because of the caste system many of the poor are denied access to opportunities to improve their situation.   Government programs have been initiated to help the impoverished but they have yet to improve the situation in rural India.

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