ERIC Number: ED053281
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Farm Poor: Counted, Miscounted, or Discounted?
Holmes, O. Wendell
According to the definition of the Social Security Administration, a family of four was considered "poor" when their total annual income was less than $3,000. In 1955, the Household Food Consumption Survey found that all families spent one-third of their annual income on food, regardless of place of residence and income level, and farmers produced about 40 percent of the food consumed on their farms. On this basis, the poverty income level for farm families was designated at $1,800. In 1969, this was adjusted to 30 percent, and the farm poverty income cutoff was $2,100. This method for setting the poverty level tends to discriminate against the poor, and many are above poverty level by definition only. The 30 percent farm differential is outdated because other costs besides food are likely to be the same as or greater than in the city. Using the 70 percent level, 29.9 million people in both farm and nonfarm areas were in the poverty category. If this level were shifted to 85 percent, an additional 700,000 rural people in poverty would be included in the national total. (BC)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Economic Research Service (USDA), Washington, DC.
Note: Paper presented at meeting of Amer. Agr. Econ. Assoc. (Lexington, Ky., Aug. 19, 1969)