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Poverty is a lack of goods and services necessary to maintain a minimal adequate standard of living. The definition of the term adequate varies, however, with the general standard of living in a society and with public attitudes toward deprivation. No university accepted definition of basic needs exists because poverty is a relative concept. In poorer countries it means living at the brink of subsistence, while in our country few improvised families confront starvation, although many suffer from undernourishment.
A key issue in the area of poverty is inequality. Inequality has been a problem in all societies. No society distributes income evenly. Despite all the conceptual and technical problems of measurement, the government has devised a widely cited poverty index that reflects the different consumption requirements of families depending on their size and composition, on the sex and age of the family head, and on weather they live in rural or urban areas.
Based on past surveys, the designers of the poverty index determined that families of three or more person spend approximately one-third of their income on food. Thus, the poverty level for these families was, therefore, set at three times the cost of the economy food plan. For smaller families and persons living alone, the cost of the economy food plan was multiplied by higher factors in order to compensate for the larger fixed expenses of smaller households. The poverty thresholds are updated every year to reflect changes in the consumer price index but overall rises in standard of living. (levington, page 147)
Another issue is that the poverty index has several flaws. First, it does not allow for regional variations in the cost of living...