Global Poverty Lines vs U.S. Poverty Lines

Defining Poverty

The United States of America may be one of the richest countries in the world, but it does not escape poverty. You might be surprised in the differences between Global vs U.S. poverty

Each country’s government gathers information to determine poverty, and the World Bank conducts their own surveys.

The World bank gathers information on household income then divides the income by the amount of people in the household. It is measured against the costs of food, clothing, and shelter.

This method has been debatable because the needs for males and females are different. Also, children's needs are different than adults.

It could disqualify people that could benefit from anti-poverty programs. Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest concentration of people living in poverty.

The World Bank recently changed the poverty lines, by grouping countries into low-income countries, medium income countries and high-income countries. For more information on world poverty visit:

Income per Countries

In the United States the Census Bureau uses the Consumer Price Index and determined the poverty rate to be $34.96 a day or $12,760.40 a year per person.

Anyone earning less than$12,760.40 is in extreme poverty and cannot afford the necessities of life such as food, clothing, or shelter.

Countries that have reduced or escaped poverty

Sub-Saharan Africa might have the largest concentration of poverty, but some countries within Africa have reduced poverty by almost half. Several other countries have become successful in reducing poverty like China, India, and Vietnam.

It may be a surprise, but Norway and Singapore were once impoverished countries. South Korea, Bolivia, Ghana have also escaped poverty

Here is a list of 10 countries that were once poor but are now rich.

Norway Switzerland
Luxembourg Ireland
Spain Singapore
Saudi Arabia South Korea
Qatar Brunei

Political Philosophies Solving World Poverty

I have been politically active throughout the years. For 16 years I worked for National Write Your Congressman doing legislative research.

In my experience doing legislative research, many people did not understand the difference between communism, socialism and fascism.

A country’s government structure determines who prospers and who doesn’t.

Proper knowledge of different political philosophies that deal with poverty could free a country or enslave it.

Lis of Political Philosophies

The list is in alphabetical order, and it is not a complete list.

  1. Anarchism - Abolishes any governing body that would force the people to abide by a set of standards. Instead, society would volunteer through cooperation. It is favored by people that do not want to be told what to do by a ruler.
  2. Authoritarianism - Is strict obedience to authority. Depending on who is in authority determines the morals and values others must obey.
  3. Communism - is often confused with fascism or government control. No private property or private businesses exists. The government is the people. Businesses are owned by the people for their benefit. Private property and personal property are not the same thing. Private property is the ownership of industry, personal property would be your toothbrush, hairbrush, vehicle.
  4. Corporatism - is when large interest groups like corporations or other large entities control the state, government, or organization.
  5. Fascism/Nazism - is a dictatorship on the far right that places the nation and sometimes race above individuals. Opposition to the regime will be suppressed.
  6. Libertarianism - is in opposition to authoritarianism and harder to define because there is a libertarian right which limits state/government intervention promoting a free market. On the left is closer to communism where people own the means of production and have the right to live as they want as long as it doesn’t interfere with others.
  7. Socialism - has been often used interchangeably with communism. Socialism is instituted by force/war where the wealth is redistributed to its citizens and most of the means of production. Some private industry is allowed to operate under socialism, something communism wouldn’t allow for.
  8. Syndicalism - places the means of production with workers’ unions. The unions would control industry for the benefit of the worker.

Government Representation in the United States

When working for National Write Your Congressman, I interviewed business owners or those in key management positions.

Business people are more likely to vote and have an interest in politics. They generally earn more money and those in higher income brackets are more likely to vote than those in lower income brackets.

Much of the information I used for this blog is from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics or Econofact.

The United States is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. A representative government or republic which gives power to the people.

The people who are the most involved in politics and are voting are the ones who will benefit the most.

If you are unhappy with the direction our country is headed, ask yourself who has benefitted the most. Are the decisions being made making the country prosperous? Who is more prosperous? Have the decisions of those in power made it easier or harder to prosper, including those with physical or intellectual disabilities?

Poverty in the United States

Most Americans believe that we are the richest most powerful country in the world. This is only true if we compare ourselves to third world countries. When we speak about Global vs U.S. poverty we do not do as well as other rich countries.

OECD standards, rank us with Mexico in poverty. United States ranks as one of the poorest rich nations, compared to other wealthy countries.

Who should be responsible for poverty, individuals, the country or those that have the most political power?

If we are one of the wealthiest nations in the world, there isn’t any reason why we can’t do the same. Other countries have reduced or even eliminated poverty.

When it comes to Poverty: Global vs U.S., true prosperity includes the prosperity of the nation.

The cost of poverty comes at a price for the country. Poor people do not have enough money for necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter.

Without proper food there is malnutrition.  Higher cases of heart issues and diabetes, increasing medical costs, and costing taxpayers more money for Medicaid.

Financial stress interferes with cognitive abilities and makes them less hirable.

Crime and violence are higher in places where there is more poverty. The more incarcerations the more tax dollars to house inmates.

Poverty is expensive for a nation. A well-educated, healthy society boosts the economy.

Overcoming poverty in the United States

Poverty is both an individual problem and a national problem. Since we are talking about Global vs U.S. poverty, we will address the responsibility of the United States. For individual responsibility of poverty, you can go to our blog on How to Get Out of Poverty.

Common arguments: we need a one payer healthcare system, increase the minimum wage, or have a universal basic income.

Cost of Healthcare

First let us address a one payor health care system. The United States is the only country in the developed world that doesn't offer universal healthcare. In fact, there are only 10 countries without universal healthcare.

Will you lose your freedom of choice by having Universal healthcare? Many people felt that way about social security and Medicare. Today people expect the Social Security and Medicare benefits they paid into.

The Problem with Minimum Wage

When I was in college, I wrote an argumentative paper on minimum wage. I learned that experts could disagree and have equally good arguments, questioning my own opinions.

It was evident most wages weren’t livable, yet the opposing argument was wage increases would hurt mom-and-pop businesses.

Minimum wage increase also has other problems. It’s a one size fits all. Something none of the experts addressed.

When the federal government increases minimum wage, it’s set for the entire country. A state can offer higher minimum wage than the Federal Government but not lower.

Businesses in the south would suffer the most from a wage increase, and on the other hand, the employees would have a much higher standard of living. One suffers while the other flourishes.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the prices of goods and services. If each state had to use the CPI to determine the cost of living, then each state could set their own minimum wage.

It could be state wide or measured on a community level or county level. Different minimum wages would be based on the cost of living in that area. This would protect small businesses and benefit the workers.

On the other hand, there would be no uniformity throughout the nation.

Legislating Business to Pay Fair Wages

Then there is the thought of regulating businesses by using a cap, or a percentage. For example, the lowest paid employee cannot be paid less than a certain percentage below the highest paid person in the business. And they would have to be entitled to the same benefits, and bonuses.

The outcome would have Corporations paying more; while small businesses would pay less, protecting small businesses.

Implementing a system like this would be difficult. Whose job would it be? Each company would have different wages based on the highest paid employee. There would also be no wage uniformity based on professions.

Then there is Universal Basic Income (UBI). What is UBI? It is a set amount of money the government gives to its citizens on a regular basis.

A UBI would be permanent. This would put anywhere from $1000 to $1200 every month into the pocket of every American regardless of whether you worked or not.

Some examples have been citizens of Alaska who receive oil money regularly or stimulus money during covid. The stimulus money reduced poverty to the lowest we have seen in years. People used the money to pay debts off and to do repairs.

Reducing poverty by addressing livable wages, and the costs of healthcare implemented by the government would lower crime and reduce incarcerations. Assessable healthcare for all would cost the tax payers less. People would be healthier and be able to work longer.