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posted on 14 October 2017

Who Is Poor?

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It seems to me there is no good government metric to define when somebody is poor.

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Last week, I wrote on the state of maintenance of structures with the thrust of this post being that not enough money was being spent on maintenance and replacement of structures. Reader Allen questioned:

When should an investor in a low income area stop upgrading property?

This simple question brings forth a cascade of unanswerable questions. My first thought was that it is really hard to define poverty.


This map compares the number of households living above the poverty line to the number of households living below. In the U.S. overall, there are 6.2 households living above the poverty line for every 1 household living below. Green areas on the map have a higher than normal number of households living above compared to below poverty. Orange areas on the map have a higher than normal number of households living below the poverty line compared to those above in that same area.

It should not come as much of a surprise that the areas which have a higher level of their population below the poverty line - also are the cheapest areas to live. From Business Insider:

There is over 50% difference in the cost of living between various areas in the United States. The poverty line in the USA is fixed - but the cost of living is not. To make any meaningful conclusion about poverty in the USA - one needs to evalute BOTH income and cost of living. And simply looking at the statistics of poverty in the USA likely is not properly defining the problem.

There are over 500,000 homeless people in the USA - some have mental issues but most do not. They are guilty of not being able to afford a house. A rental unit in a neighborhood surrounded by other poorly maintained structures likely is not being well maintained. This is where the people who can least afford housing congregate. The rental prices there are the lowest as the landlord is spending the minimum.

These poorly maintained areas (aka "low income areas") are the only places affordable to many.

Other Economic News this Week:

The Econintersect Economic Index for October 2017 dropped below the range seen for the previous 5 months - and is now in a range associated with below normal growth. Six-month employment growth forecast is indicating improvement.

Bankruptcies this Week from Privately-held DuraFiber Technologies (DFT) Operations (f/k/a Performance Fibers Operations), Point.360

Weekly Economic Release Scorecard:

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