• $35,000 — basic-needs budget for a U.S. family of four (two adults, two children), as calculated in An Atlas of Poverty in America 1
  • $19,157 — poverty line for a family of four (two adults, two children) in the U.S. in 2004, as established by the U.S. Census Bureau 2
  • $19,000 — amount spent by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s wife Columba during a five-day shopping spree in Paris in 1999 3
  • 12.7 — percentage of U.S. citizens living below the poverty line in 2004 (37 million people) 4
  • 8.6 — percentage of non-Hispanic Caucasians living below the poverty level in 2004 4
  • 9.8 — percentage of Asians living below the poverty level in 2004 4
  • 21.9 — percentage of Hispanics living below the poverty level in 2004 4
  • 24.3 — percentage of Native Americans living below the poverty level in 2004 4
  • 24.7 — percentage of African Americans living below the poverty level in 2004 4
  • $84,044 — average per capita personal income in New York County, N.Y., the most affluent county in the nation, in 2003 5
  • $10,805 — average per capita personal income in Starr County, Texas, the least affluent county in the nation, in 2003 6
  • $11,354 — average cost per year of tuition, fees, room, and board at a four-year public college in 2004-05 7
  • 16 — percentage by which real wages have increased in the last 30 years for workers with some college education 1
  • 19 — percentage by which real wages have declined in the last 30 years for workers with less than a high-school education 1
  • $51,138 — median annual income of a white man with a bachelor’s degree in 2003 8
  • $41,916 — median annual income of a black man with a bachelor’s degree in 2003 8
  • $33,142 — median annual income of a black woman with a bachelor’s degree in 2003 8
  • $30,082 — median annual income of a white woman with a bachelor’s degree in 2003 8
  • 24 — percentage of the workforce in low-wage jobs (under $9 per hour) 9
  • 46.8 — percentage of Americans aged 65 or older who would have had incomes below the poverty line without Social Security benefits, from 2000 to 2002 10
  • 8.7 — percentage of Americans aged 65 or older who did have incomes below the poverty line, even with Social Security benefits, from 2000 to 2002 10
  • 8.6 — percentage of children living in poverty in 2003 in New Hampshire, the state with the fewest impoverished children in the U.S. 1
  • 31.2 — percentage of children living in poverty in 2003 in Arkansas, the state with the most impoverished children in the nation 1
  • 169,000 — minimum number of housing units in Appalachia that had no plumbing in 2000, the latest year for which statistics are available 1
  • 32.7 — percentage of net worth in the United States controlled by the top 1 percent of the population, in 2001 11
  • $46.5 billion — net worth of the richest person in the world, Bill Gates, in 2005 12

 

Sources:
1. An Atlas of Poverty in America: One Nation, Pulling Apart, 1960-2003, Amy K. Glasmeier, 2005.
2. Poverty Thresholds 2004, U.S. Census Bureau.
3. “Bush: Wife Meant to Hide Shopping Spree From Me,” St. Petersburg Times, Jo Becker, 1999.
4. Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004 [PDF], Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Cheryl Hill Lee, U.S. Census Bureau.
5. 250 Highest Per Capita Personal Incomes of the 3,111 Counties in the United States, 2003, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
6. 250 Lowest Per Capita Personal Incomes of the 3,111 Counties in the United States, 2003, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
7. “The College Board’s Annual Reports on College Pricing and Financial Aid Show Tuition Increases Are Smaller Than Last Year, But Still High by Historical Standards,” CollegeBoard.com, 19 Oct 2004.
8. “Holding a Four-Year College Degree Brings Blacks Closer to Economic Parity With Whites,” The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.
9. Low-Wage Workers Demographic Statistics, Quintessential Careers.
10. “Top Ten Facts on Social Security’s 70th Anniversary,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Jason Furman, 11 Aug 2005.
11. “Wealth Inequality: Data and Models” [PDF], Marco Cagetti and Mariacristina De Nardi, 17 Aug 2005.
12. “World’s Richest People,” Forbes, 2005.

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