Federal Poverty Guidelines
I was curious if they had changed to reflect reality. Sadly they have not. You can find the numbers here: https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines
What this says is that, for the 48 “contiguous” US States, 1 individual earning less than 12,140 is considered impoverished. So, let’s break it down a bit… I live in a conservative community, where they say cost of living is low. That is not quite true. Cost of housing, particularly in terms of, say, property tax, is considerably lower than the National average.
Say you’re fresh out of college, you were smart, used lots of grant funds, got some small loans – and managed to save about two grand to get setup after (yes, I know this is absurdly rare, but for the sake of argument…), first thing to do is find housing.
Most are likely to begin by renting, so, say a small, 1 bed, 1 bath apartment in a college town in Northern Maine. You are looking at at least 500 a month for rent and utilities – being lucky and very frugal. Landlord will demand (typically) first and last months rent plus security deposit. That’ll be 1500 bucks, up front.
Next thing you’ll need is transportation for the job hunt. There is no public transportation up here, so you need a car, particularly as most of our work force commutes into other towns and cities.
You could maybe… maybe blow your last 500 on a used piece of junk, that, if you are lucky, will hold up long enough for you to save some cash. But most go through a car dealership, where prices have also gone up.
To do so, you will likely have to borrow, either from family or a financial institution. At least for the down payment, but you’ve got (again, absurdly rare) great credit, so you do it… no big deal.
Then you have to register that car, 150 bucks, for an older model. You paid 250 for the first car payment…. so you have 100 left.
Looking at that wallet/bank account and how thin it is, you borrow more, based on your great credit. Funds to survive, for a while….
Then you discover that, up here, almost any degree program does not guarantee a job. You have a B.S. in, let’s say, computer science. You’re great with repair, writing software, programming and such… getting a job should be a breeze.
Nope. There are a hundred like you doing the same damn thing. Applications pile up, interviews are disappointing, no one seems to offer benefits, or fair wages… and damn, you’re in debt.
Finally, you start getting desperate, you first payment on that loan… rent and car payment will be coming due…
Okay, change expectations. A job at wal-Mart will suck, but it’s just temporary right? Right. Say you’re lucky and are hired full time at the minimum wage of 10 an hour.
That’s 1600 a month (before taxes, probably around… 1300 after). Woohoo! It’s like you won the lottery (up here, it really is). But, uh, hmm. Well, 500 for rent, 250 for that car, 300 on loan payments. Well, you still have something for food and gas… maybe you’ll get an old flip phone for work.
Then your manager cuts your hours to thirty… no benefits, and now you’re earning 1200 a month before taxes…
You pick up a part time job to stay afloat, working another 20 hours a week for an extra 800 monthly… before taxes.
You start to wonder why you went to college. You get depressed, start drinking and one night a friend offers you some pills…..
Welcome to life in rural America. This is being generous and conservative, assuming a much better situation than usual. I have seen and heard of this story playing itself out many, many times.
That someone making 13k a year (before taxes) is not considered officially impoverished is fucking nuts. That number needs to go way up. 30,000 would be closer to the truth. The “median” in America is supposedly 50k a year. I know too many college grads who don’t even make 20.Mabus, eridani, Marym625 and 24 othersctsnowman, Doremus Jessup, twenty, Gryneos, nevereVereven, glinda, , canoeist52, disillusioned73, snot, Flying Squirrel, Haikugal, Utopian Leftist, Paper Roses, Enthusiast, VagrantPeters, Babel 17, area woman, closeupready, NV Wino, jwirr, xynthee, ThomPaine, 99Forever like this“There is no distinctly native American criminal class save Congress.” - Mark Twain
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