I am more inclined to disagree with the official definition of the poverty rate. There are far more factors involved than just the income of a person. Every area in the country has different economic policies and different standards of living. This is a chart comparing individual cities in the country. http://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-2/expenditures-of-urban-and-rural-households-in-2011.htm. The cities each have different price indexes for what one would spend on housing (either purchasing or in this case of a person living on $11,945/year, renting), utilities, food, health care, and other costs. Each individual person has expenditures and needs that can take up most of that income without leaving anything for other basic needs. This article, http://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-2/expenditures-of-urban-and-rural-households-in-2011.htm, summarizes this fact while highlighting a few others. Urban households had greater incomes but also greater expenditures. One flat rate of $11,945 will not incorporate everybody. Running the numbers just for Gainesville, FL according to my own research when I was apartment hunting, the lowest one bedroom apartments I found were $500 per month. Utilities run, without added garbage pickup or natural gas, about $100. And if a person did not own a car, which means no insurance, gas, nor maintenance, they could take the bus and get a daily pass for $3 per day, which adds up to $60 per month just to get around. The flat rate of $23,283 for a family of four has the same inaccuracies as the definition for a single person with the added expenses per person and children.
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