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Poverty and Sociology

In 2010, about 46.2 million people were considered poor. The nation’s poverty rate rose to 15.1 percent, whereas in 2009, 14.3 percent of people in America were living in poverty (Censky, 2011). That is an increase of 2.6 million people in 2010. In the United States, the federal poverty line – an absolute measure of annual income – is frequently used to determine who is categorized as poor (Ferris & Stein, 2008, 2010). Currently the government defines the poverty line as an income of $11,139 for an individual and $22,314 for a family of four (Censky, 2011). In sociology, poverty can be defined using two terms – relative deprivation and absolute deprivation. Relative deprivation is a comparison between people and social class. With relative deprivation, people are considered poor if their standard of living is less than that of other members of society (Ferris & Stein, 2008, 2010). Absolute deprivation is an objective measure of poverty, whereby people are considered poor because he or she is incapable to meet minimal fundamentals such as food, shelter, health care and material o…

 

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