May 5, 2008
- From 1967 to 2003, average household income (adjusted dollars) grew from $7.589 to 9,996 for those in the bottom 20%, and grew from $83,758 to $147,078 for those in the top 20%.1
- In 2003, California had a poverty rate of 13.4%, compared to 9% in Virginia, 19.9% in Washington D.C., and 12.7% for the U.S. 1
- For those living in poverty, the poverty gap per family member (defined as the total dollar amount short of the poverty line) grew from $1,873 to $3,018 (adjusted dollars) between 1975-2003. 1
- From the years 1980-2000, average net income (adjusted dollars) for households with children grew by $876,300 for the top 1%, and grew by $2,000 for those in the bottom 20%. 1
- While the number of persons at poverty level declined from 13.4% to 12.5% from 1987-2003, the number of persons on Medicaid grew from 8.4% to 12.4%1
- Approximately 7.5 million workers (6% of the U.S. workforce) earn at or near the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour.2
- If the federal minimum wage had maintained its 1968 peak value, it would be $8.69 an hour today. 2
- From 1956 to 1981, the minimum wage was approximately half of the average American workers wage; today it is about 30%. 2
With food prices rising and economic troubles dominating the U.S. presidential race, White House candidates are focusing attention on the issue of poverty.
Republican John McCain spent last week touring “forgotten places in America” to highlight his commitment to helping the poor.
Sen. Hillary Clinton promised earlier this month to create a “poverty czar” as president while Illinois Sen. Barack Obama called last weekend for rich nations to increase their food aid dramatically.
There are an estimated 36.5 million poor people in the United States, one of the richest countries in the world. The Institute for Research on Poverty, citing census data from 2006, says that is 12.3 percent of the U.S. population. Read the rest of this entry »
February 12, 2008
A study done at the University of Arizona in Tucson indicated that 40 to 50 percent of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten.
Of the food that actually makes it into homes, 50 million tons of it goes into the garbage, sometimes unopened.
Timothy W. Jones, an anthropologist at the UA, Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, has spent the last 10 years measuring food loss. His research found:
- Households dump $43 billion worth of food a year, or about 14 percent of what they buy. That doesn’t include plate scrapings.
- 15 percent of that waste includes products still within their expiration date but never opened.
- 5 percent of American’s leftovers could feed 4 million people for 1 day
- Disposing of food waste costs the U.S. $1 billion a year
- Rotting food releases methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2
- Methane can be harnessed to create clean energy for heat, light and fuel
- Retailers, including restaurants, throw away 35 million tons a year, valued at $30 billion.
- Reducing food waste by half could reduce adverse environmental impacts by 25 per cent through reduced landfill use, soil depletion and applications of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides.
December 24, 2007
A thought provoking vew from outside the U.S.:
by Iman Kurdi/Arab News
As we prepare for our holiday festivities, spare a thought for the world’s hungry. The good news is that more people today can afford to eat meat. Economic growth in countries like India and China has meant that millions of people whose diet was once low on meat and high on grain are now able to eat a richer and more varied diet.
The bad news is that those who are very poor are having to pay substantially more for their food. Prices of main staples — corn, rice, and wheat — have risen by as much as 50 percent over the last year. Read the rest of this entry »