Cross National Comparisons of Persons with Low Income Many studies show that the U. Typically, a family is judged to be in "relative poverty" if its income is less than half the median family income in the nation where it lives. has a substantially higher median family income than most European nations, the poverty bar is set higher for the U. Median family income in Poland is only about a quarter of the U. S., Arkansas is found to have little poverty while Massachusetts has a lot. Analysis that compares low income persons across nations by a single uniform standard produces different results. For example, the real disposable income of the least affluent tenth of the U. population can be compared to the real incomes of similar groups in European and other advanced nations. bottom incomes are lower than such incomes in Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and Luxembourg. As result, one third of all adult immigrants lack a high school degree, compared to only nine percent of non-immigrants. There is a common misconception that the low education levels of recent immigrants are part of a permanent historical pattern, and that the U. has always admitted immigrants who were poorly educated relative to the native born population. In FY 2008, low and semi-skilled immigrants received some $90 billion in means-tested welfare aid. immigration policy should encourage high-skill immigration and strictly limit poverty-generating low-skill immigration. Specifically, immigration policy should seek to substantially reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the U. and to increase the skill level of future legal immigrants.
Since median family incomes differ widely between nations, the "relative poverty" concept sets the "poverty bar" at different heights for different nations. Such analysis shows that the lowest income Americans have the same or higher incomes when compared to similar groups in most advanced nations. are roughly equal to those in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, and Canada. Critically, the median family income is substantially higher in the U. than in all European countries except Luxembourg. (See charts 1 and 2.) Stop Importing Poverty and Welfare Dependence America is currently experiencing near record levels of immigration. This high level of welfare receipt is especially striking since many in this group are illegal immigrants currently barred from welfare use. In general, government policy should limit immigration to those who will be net fiscal contributors, avoiding those who will increase poverty and impose new costs on overburdened U. To accomplish this, the government should: Reducing Child Poverty by Increasing Parental Work Low levels of parental work are a major factor contributing to child poverty.
As employment of single mothers rose, child poverty dropped rapidly.
For example, in the quarter-century before welfare reform, there was no net change in the poverty rate of children in single-mother families; after reform was enacted, the poverty rate dropped in an unprecedented fashion, falling from 53.1 percent in 1995 to 39.8 percent in 2001. Unfortunately, the work-inducing provisions of welfare reform were limited in scope and intensity.
Because of these biased methods, many Americans are deemed "poor" when, in fact, they have higher real incomes than persons identified as "non-poor" in Europe. However, survey data show that nutriment density (amount of vitamins, minerals, and protein per kilocalorie of food) does not vary by income class. Nor do the poor consume higher-fat diets than do the middle class; the percentage of persons with high fat intake (as a share of total calories) is virtually the same for low-income and upper-middle-income persons. Over-consumption of calories in general, however, is a major problem among the poor, as it is within the general U. population. On the other hand, the living conditions of the average poor American should not be taken as representing all the poor.
By contrast, if a fair, uniform standard of comparison is used, the lowest income tenth of the U. population is found to have a real income that is roughly equal to, or higher than, most European nations. There is actually a wide range in living conditions among the poor.For example, around sixty percent of poor households have cell phones and a third have telephone answering machines, but, at the other extreme, approximately one-tenth have no phone at all. Studies of "relative poverty" are therefore misleading. history, the education level of immigrants was equal to, or greater than, that of non-immigrants.While the majority of poor households do not experience significant material problems, roughly a third do experience at least one problem during the year such as overcrowding, temporary food shortages, or difficulty getting medical care. These studies are flawed because they employ the concept of "relative poverty". This means the real income needed to be judged "non-poor" in the U. For example, using a relative poverty measure, Poland is found to have less poverty than the U. In fact, the real incomes of individuals at the bottom of the income distribution in Poland are only third of the incomes of similar Americans. How can Poland realistically be said to have less poverty than the U. Similarly, when the relative poverty concept is applied to states within the U. Today's immigrants are disproportionately poorly educated. This occurs because illegal immigration primarily attracts low skill workers and the legal immigration system favors kinship ties over skill levels. The steady influx of low skill (without a high school degree) and semi-skilled (with only a high school degree) immigrants inevitably leads to increases in the number of poor persons in the U. Low and semi-skilled immigrants and their families now comprise almost one fifth of all poor persons in the U. While there is a common myth that immigrants use little welfare, in reality, immigrants are heavy users of welfare services.Specifically, the lowest income tenth of families in the U. has a higher disposable income than the lowest income tenth in: France, Sweden, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Spain, Italy, Israel, Greece, and Portugal. Each year roughly 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants enter and take up residence in the U. Welfare expenditures would rise even more strongly if illegal immigrants are granted amnesty and eventual access to the welfare system. In good economic times or bad, the typical poor family with children is supported by only 800 hours of work during a year: That amounts to 16 hours of work per week.Current immigration inflows operate against normal social goals and policies. If work in each family were raised to 2,000 hours per year--the equivalent of one adult working 40 hours per week through the year--nearly 75 percent of poor children would be lifted out of official poverty. The key to increasing parental work is to set up work requirements attached to welfare benefits received by poor families.The earnings of the father are sufficient to have a strong potential anti-poverty effect on the mother and child.In fact, if poor single mothers married the fathers of their children, almost three-quarters would immediately be lifted out of poverty. Unfortunately, without marriage and commitment, most non-married fathers leave the mother a few years after the child's birth.Around half of the women who have non-marital births are co-habiting with the father at the time of birth.Another quarter are in a romantic relationship with the father.Reducing Child Poverty by Reducing Non-marital Childbearing Currently, 38 percent of all children born in the U. Most non-marital births occur to women in their early 20's, only 15 percent occur to girls under 18.Virtually no non-marital pregnancies are due to a lack of access to birth control.