Nearly two-thirds of Americans live in poverty at some point: study

Nearly two-thirds of americans live in poverty at some point: study
Almost one-quarter spend five years or more in poverty, researchers find.

Many Americans will live in poverty at some point in their lives, a new study shows.

Researchers looked at national data collected since 1968 and concluded that between the ages of 25 and 60, almost two-thirds of Americans will live in poverty for a year. Poverty was defined as living under the 20th percentile of income distribution, the study noted. About 42 percent of Americans will have a year of —that's below the 10th percentile of income distribution, the researchers said.

What's more, nearly 25 percent will live through five or more years of poverty, and more than 11 percent will live in five or more years of extreme poverty, the study found.

"The numbers we found are higher than those we originally expected to find," study author Mark Rank, a professor of at Washington University in St. Louis, said in a university news release. Rank conducted the study with Thomas Hirschl, a professor of development sociology at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y.

A number of factors were linked to living in poverty or extreme poverty for a year. People who were younger, female, nonwhite, or single were more likely to have a year of poverty or extreme poverty. People with 12 years or less of education, and those who had a work disability were also more likely to have a year of poverty or extreme poverty, the study revealed.

The study was published recently in the journal PLoS ONE.

"Our previous work has shown that the typical American has a one in nine chance of joining the wealthiest 1 percent of the for at least one year in her or his working life," Rank said.

"We knew that there would be a large number of Americans on the other end of the spectrum, but this research shows specifically how wide that really is," he added.


Explore further

Most people experience relative poverty at some point

More information: The Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison has more about poverty.
Journal information: PLoS ONE

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Aug 12, 2015
you people have an odd definition of poverty.

Aug 12, 2015
Welcome to Obamanomics.

Aug 12, 2015
Poverty is particularly bad when its at the end of your life, beyond the chance to recover.

That means poverty only extends to remaining life, which may be shorter than otherwise.

Its amazing for many people in the world that 'Poverty' and 'America' share the same sentence.

Makes you wonder about the priorities of such a rich country.


Aug 13, 2015
How much did it cost to come up with this groundbreaking information? My wife and I lived in poverty while we were going to college. We survived, and didn't live off the government.

Aug 13, 2015
Funny. The same two-thirds also consider themselves to be temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

(actually it's not very funny at all)

Aug 16, 2015
Do you realized that generational wealth has ceased to be passed on? The myth of starting a business and leaving it to the grandchildren is acutally only relevant to the elite?

So how is wealth distributed among the rest of us? Divorce. And I suspect this is specifically enabled by some predatory communities. I saw first hand this happening in community where I lived. The target is usually someone not connected to the power structure who in turn is usually composed of founders, etc. The woman is targeted, the family broken, the assets distributed. And the escalation of this type of predator action is hiding behind the law in Civil Forfeiture. The assets thrown out by the divorce lead to more hunger for more assets and the temptation to use the children via drugs seems to be the next step in this overwhelming human self degradation.

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