The national poverty rate was 14.8 percent in 2014, the latest year data was available. That amounts to roughly 46.7 million Americans living poverty, roughly the same number as the previous three years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Despite the nation’s slow economic recovery, lower and middle class incomes have largely stagnated in recent years, broadening the gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else.

But what does it mean to actually live below the “poverty line,” and who decided where that line should be drawn?  Comic journalist Andy Warner breaks down these figures and what they mean for the millions of average American families scraping by.
(Click images below to view as a slideshow)

Download the complete illustration.

Infographic: What Does it Mean to Be Poor in America? 30 March,2017Andy Warner

  • Common Sense

    Stop breeding, poor people.

    • Guest

      How about instead of telling them to stop breeding we actually start taking care of our society and making it possible for people to live and raise their families?

      • ph74

        It takes a village to raise an idiot. I’m sorry some people don’t have any ambition or motivation to do anything but work minimum wage jobs. People used to be willing to work 2 lobs, because they wanted to work their way out of poverty. Now people are demanding government take other people’s money and give it to people who aren’t willing to work for it?

        • Schalk Dormehl

          What he said!

        • Shinbone Macgreevy

          You’re right! Why raise the minimum wage? We should lower it, so people have to work three jobs! And while you’re working hard to improve yourself, why should you expect to afford a place to live and good food to eat? Live in your car! And you can throw away that extravagant cell phone, if you’re poor you can go to the library or use a payphone or something. Yeah, we all have a lot of fancy crap now and the fancy crap factories count on everyone buying it, even poor people, because that’s how they stay in business and create jobs for the rest of us rats to fight over. And people reproduce, it’s what we do, been going on that way for a while. Stop breeding? Yeah, thanks Hitler, great idea.

          • theo

            why are people who bring to light the taboo subject of overpopulation called Hitler when it’s freaking obvious that the more people there are exhausting the planet’s resources and space, the less of a good quality of life there is to be had for each person?

        • Spud

          Are you serious? Because I was born into a family with the resources to get a nice education and/or with the brains to land a high-paying job, I should work only 40 hours per week and live like an empress while anyone without those advantages should work their ass off to get by or get ahead? A lot of well-off folks did nothing special to deserve it – same goes for a lot of people at the poverty level. The idea that everyone deserves what they’re getting is ridiculous and perpetuates the problem.

          • RedScourge

            Did you deserve to be born with two functioning legs? That’s not fair, let’s cut one off and give it to someone less fortunate, because you didn’t do anything to deserve it! Not okay with that? Too bad, the year is 2037 and a new law was passed by jealous socialists, so now the government can come and take it. In the name of social justice of course.

          • Spud

            Nice rhetoric, but no. I’d be happy to contribute the resources I’m lucky enough to have to help other folks out. So in your analogy, if my walking an extra mile per day magically gave someone without a leg a prosthetic, I’d do it for sure. If my tax dollars can help feed and educate a kid whose parents can’t (or even wouldn’t), that makes me happy.

          • RedScourge

            Then freely contribute your own resources in the way you feel will bring the most benefit and compel others with words if you feel they should do the same; don’t force everyone to contribute in an extremely inefficient manner through government action. People have different priorities and your charity of choice shouldn’t be forced on everyone, otherwise it’s not charity, it’s theft. Whether or not they recognize it as theft, they’ll grow to resent the obligation anyway, rather than doing it because they feel it is socially responsible and makes them feel good. Half the GDP is reallocated via government every year and there’s still poverty, so clearly that strategy is NOT working.

          • 65snake

            Do you actually know any poor people? From your post it is rather apparent that you do not. Or maybe met one or two that do fall into the stereotype you seem to have bought into, and have decided that they represent everyone in poverty.
            Perhaps you should get some reality based information on the subject before deciding that you know what other people think and feel.

          • Carl E. Mott III

            ” Half the GDP is reallocated via government every year”

        • Not Sure

          When one barely has enough to survive on, it doesn’t leave anything to fuel ambitions. Ever heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? In America, 1 job should be enough, the way it was when my father supported his family of 4 on a blue collar trucker’s job. But, thanks to the Rethuglican assault on labor, there’s no such thing as fair pay for a day’s work for that class of people.

      • Schalk Dormehl

        Americans were capable of taking care of themselves at one point..

        • EJ

          Things changed. Even the minimum wage isn’t what it used to be in 60’s 70’s. People who work minimum wage even at two jobs are in constant limbo – you have to work to pay bills and there is no time to pursue the ambition, otherwise you are going to be hungry and living on the streets. There are the ones who are subsidized by government in their fourth generation – answer to this regulate these subsidies more strictly. But there are also people who are struggling very much after a sudden loss of job. And even this poverty guideline numbers are ridiculous. Who can live on 11,945.00 a year?

          There is middle class – they do earn more than the poverty guidelines suggest working jobs they wanted. And they are also struggling, but they don’t get subsidies – because they earn more than the poverty level income. This country is choking it’s citizens by giving thumbs up to big corporations, and their owners to use the working class as they please.

    • AnarchyPrime

      Wealthier people have fewer kids. Are they wealthier because they have fewer kids? Or do they have fewer kids because they are wealthier? A bit of both, but mostly the latter. There’s an opportunity cost to having kids, but that cost is felt more by people who are already toward the wealthy end of the spectrum, than it is by people who are already toward the poor end of the spectrum. Work towards promoting greater wealth for the poor, and they will have fewer kids.

    • Elizabeth

      The total fertility rate in the US is 1.9 children per woman (its necessary for the “average” woman to have 2 children to replace herself and her partner in the next generation). If all of the ‘poor people’ stopped breeding there would be a whole lot less people in a few generations. Of course that’s a great solution to poverty. No one lives in poverty if we’re extinct.

  • SKPeterson

    Just remember that there’s about 2 billion people on this planet who would love to be poor in America.

    • ph74

      When you subsidize poverty, you get more of it.

      • Thomas Mrak

        There are also many lower middle class people, especially those who work for the government and private sector Unions who have similar attitudes.

      • Jim Olson

        Yes, and up is down.

    • Carl E. Mott III

      Yes and the American aristocracy knows this and it is why there is a plateau of poverty in this country. Outsourcing by sending jobs to cheaper labor markets and selling the goods here with little to no excise tax (2.5% tax on Chinese goods imported, but 25% on American good exported there) or importing cheap labor here legally or illegally. This downward pressure on labor’s wages is also a lobbying point they utilize to stagnate the minimum wage from rising, claiming we need to be more globally competitive….I wonder if the Germans would make that argument against their workers? =/.

    • Not Sure

      Comparing an industrialized and prosperous nation like the US to other nations with more severe poverty does not make you right. There is no excuse for this nation to have anyone living in a state of want. If you think being poor in America is a walk in the park, just go ahead and donate all that you own to charity and join the ranks. M-O-R-O-N!

      • SKPeterson

        Diane – You don’t seem to get the point. The poor in America who have it so hard, are extremely wealthy and rich by global standards, and it is precisely because we are an industrialized and prosperous nation that our poor live so well compared to a huge segment of the rest of humanity.

        Let’s compare, shall we?

        Over 80% of the American poor have a cell phone. Over 58% have a computer. Over 96% have a tv and a refrigerator, while over 93% also have microwaves. Over 83% have air conditioning. Over 2/3rds have a washer and a dryer for laundry. All this would also imply that they have available electricity and water.

        If you are going to tell me that most of the 2 billion people in the world who get by on less than $2 a day would not immediately be willing to trade places with, or aspire to be, a member of the American poor, I think we can easily say who the M-O-R-O-N is.

        • Not Sure

          And you don’t get the point that global standards are irrelevant in THIS country. As I told someone else, landlines are obsolete and cell phones are essential. Witness the lifeline program that used to discount landlines now being applicable to cell phones. Computers are cheap and also essential for job searches and homework. Computers can be obtained for free from such places like TVs are free on Craigslist all day long and having a TV is NOT a marker of wealth as they were back when they were first invented. And seriously? You think being able to keep your food from spoiling in a matter of hours is wealthy? Numbnutz – EVERYBODY needs a fridge. A/C might come with your rental home or apartment – doesn’t mean you can afford to use it and vulnerable people die every heatwave due to this fact. Owning a washer and dryer is also NOT a marker of wealth. Laundromats can be quite inconvenient and expensive and again, these amenities typically come with your rental. Electricity is standard and water is essential. You are not only colossally stoopid, but also ignorant and ineducable and cruel to suggest those of a lower station than yours have it made. You are only 1 crisis or catastrophic medical condition from trading places with american poor, and though schadenfreude isn’t my bag, you sure deserve a taste of your own medicine.

          • SKPeterson

            Everything you have described as a “need” is a freaking luxury in the Third World, Diane. THAT is the point. You come off as a self-important twenty-something idiot whose recognition of history is entirely inadequate. Everything – and I mean every last single thing you are touting as “essential” – was not available to large swathes of the American population as recently as a few decades ago. You are whining about what is by objective, global standards the remarkably well-off condition of almost all of our poor. By your attitude, you’re pissing all over the rest of the world’s poor with your “woe is me” b.s. You are acting like a spoiled little brat of a girl who cannot appreciate what she has and demands that someone else give it to her. And, as a result, you’re making me less and less sympathetic with the plight of the poor the more you spout off with your drivel.

          • Not Sure

            The idea that you could say a fridge, electricity and water are ‘luxuries’ prove how impossibly out of touch you are. The rest of your diatribe proves how judgmental you are. Not that it matters for our ‘discussion’ but I am 44 and work in Information Technology. Whether things were available a few decades ago is irrelevant. They are available now. The pace of life is different now. The tools needed to get by in a modern society have changed, but like most rethuglicans, you’re stuck in a prior era mentally. And again, F-U-C-K global standards. They are irrelevant here. We cannot take comfort in the fact that BILLIONS of people are homeless, starving and dying when we could fix that with a portion of what we throw to Boeing and Lockeed Martin, et al. Instead of saying that the most downtrodden, disadvantaged and destitute among your fellow citizens learn to suck it up and deal with it coz it’s worse elsewhere, why don’t you lobby so that jobs and the economy improve such that no one is left behind? But, you’re a jerk and you think that everyone should pull themselves up by their bootstraps…thing is…50 million americans lack boots. I don’t have time for your idiocy. Dismissed!

          • Alissa A. Lisosky

            Diane, I want to agree with you so, so badly because I have something of a bleeding heart for the poor as well, but you have got to see where he’s coming from, right? I mean, when you’ve got children on the other side of the world sifting through garbage for rotten apple cores or a sock to suck moisture out of, you can see where a television, refrigerator, air conditioning and so on might be seen as luxuries, right? I think that what SKPeterson is getting at here is that, while this may be America’s poor, America’s poor is still far better off than the rest of the world’s poor. It’s not an irrelevant point, and I think that it helps to put things into perspective; we should maybe take a moment to truly appreciate what we have. That being said, the disparity between rich and poor in America is still quite large and gross and unacceptable.

          • Not Sure

            I certainly agree that it is tragic that there are poor and starving and ill children and families in other countries. It’s one reason I donate to It does not excuse the leaders of America for allowing our own citizens to struggle against formidable odds to survive. In fact, I am incensed because we could feed and educate the whole world with a portion of the billions we waste on defense. We spend roughly almost 700 Billion per year. And even with that, our own veterans struggle to survive. I spoke recently to a man with a severely deformed hand. His father was in Vietnam and exposed to Agent Orange. That veteran is STILL trying to get a disability claim approved. It’s shameful.

            A quick search indicates that global poverty could be eradicated with under 200 Billion per year.

            My main point against the neocon jerk above is that we must compare evenly. That is why, when discussing poverty in America, the global stats are not relevant. And when discussing modern conveniences in America, it’s patently absurd to hold the Amish out as “well, they can do it, you can too.” Completely irrelevant. They, as a community, can eschew whatever amenities they wish, and they all come together to support each other. American families are far more isolated from their peers and those of higher socioeconomic strata. That is one reason why my favorite domestic charity is And the only reason he can hold these ridiculous notions in his head is to justify feeling smug and superior over those lowly and lazy entitlement-minded poor as he must undoubtedly perceive them. As long as he maintains the erroneous notion that a family isn’t poor if they have a damn fridge, then he can justify feeling no compassion nor any sort of duty or obligation to help the less fortunate. And he can just as easily be in their shoes. No matter what $ he has set aside for a rainy day, it can evaporate from one crisis. And while I wouldn’t wish ill fortune on anyone – experiencing true poverty should enlighten him, if that is remotely possible. I have my sincere doubts on that. Some people are just bloody determined to be total bastards in their dealings with others.

          • What a ripper comment! Spot on. Say it the way it is.
            To bring in the perspective SKPeterson has brought is irrelevant and is like comparing planets.
            No offense, we are all one humanity and poverty is gut wrenching, but charity begins at home.

        • Brad

          So SKPeterson – since being poor in America is so great, why don’t you give away your salary over the poverty line. At the same time, give away your savings and retirement – certainly, the poor have neither.

          It’s pretty easy to say how easy it is to be poor in America, when you’re not.

          For myself, I couldn’t be happier to be:
          1. male
          2. white
          3. born in the NE (MA) of the USA

          As far as morons go, I wouldn’t be too quick to throw that stone…

          • SKPeterson

            Read my original post Brad. Being poor in America is a luxury 2 billion people in this world don’t have. I never said it was easy being poor in America, but with all of the things listed, it sure as hell beats living on less than $2 a day. If being at the poverty line in the US is so terrible, maybe you should go to the DR Congo and scrape by on less than $2 a day. Then you can tell me about poverty. Until then, all I can hear is the whiiiiiiiiine.

          • Suska

            Being poor in America isn’t a luxury. If you don’t have a job you can’t have a car, nothing is set up for people on foot, and you can be arrested for trying to live of other people’s land or dumpsters. If only America was a place where being poor meant living off the land like it meant to many of the 2b people you mention.

        • Amber Lee

          Thank you for saying it and I totally agree with you. I really don’t get why people don’t understand this simple statement.

  • ben_b

    Because kids just fall from the sky and land in your lap. Nothing you can do to prevent it.

    • James

      Right… so… you are suggesting that only the rich should reproduce. There is nothing wrong with pushing someone’s face into the mud while you refuse to pay them above minimum wage (because of course, minimum wage is too good for those sorts of people anyways, right?) but it is a horrible sin against the world if one of those filthy scum actually decides to have a baby! The law clearly states that they have a right to nothing more than minimum wage, but it obviously overlooked the part which should explain that bearing children is only the right of the rich.

      Oh, and by the way, I (and my kids when they inherit) will be more than glad to hire your children for minimum wage as they work for our company. Since, you know, after you extinguish all of your undesirables, I will still need to get my labor from somewhere and clearly you would not be offended at all if I treat your offspring in this manner.

    • Not Sure

      Of course – not when the rethuglicans oppose sex education, low cost birth control and sponsor such evil as the Hyde amendment, close or restrict reproductive healthcare clinics and murder doctors. Your party’s policies thrust parenthood on the unprepared. But go ahead…I’ll wait the 30 seconds it will take for you to spew forth something about keeping one’s legs closed.

  • RedScourge

    Two important facts this “infographic” doesn’t tell you:

    1) You can’t call a plateau a “recovery” without being a liar
    2) It’s not the same people in the same income brackets, every 10 years there’s about 40% turnover up or down, though the trend is upward with age, with young people of course starting lower

    • AnarchyPrime

      It also leaves out things like: Today’s poor people have cell phones, cable programming on giant flatscreen tvs, air conditioning, and all sorts of wonderful things didn’t exist or were only available to the wealthy back then. There certainly are problems facing the poor in this country, and it does stem from the government and the influence of the ultra-rich. But the point is that a simple dollar-to-dollar comparison is quite misleading.

      The wild and growing income disparity is a symptom, not a cause, of a much deeper problem. It is possible for everyone to get a bigger piece of the pie, even if some pieces are bigger than others, so long as the pie is getting bigger. The problem with our system is that the pie isn’t getting bigger fast enough, and that some are getting a bigger piece by making others’ pieces smaller.

      • Not Sure

        Jacka$$. Cell phones are an essential these days, and landlines are obsolete. A poor person with a long commute and long work hours NEEDS to be in contact with her children. A/C is essential in many parts of this country, especially the dirt poor red states in the hot south. Or do you want someones impoverished grammaw to die of heatstroke? You’re spouting the hateful myth of the ‘welfare queen’ diatribe here.

        • AnarchyPrime

          Essential? Please explain to us all how humans managed to get by for 200,000 years without these “essentials.” Please explain how Americans got by without these essentials but one generation ago? Please explain to us how billions of truly impoverished people in Latin America, Africa, and Asia still live without these essentials?

          I don’t think you understand the meaning of that word.

          • Not Sure

            Simple. They didn’t. They died early. And when you’re not in a city, you can be a hunter-gatherer. While many in the US did get by (several) generations ago, technology was invented by those generations for a reason and now that they are here, they are essential tools. But feel free to give up your car and commute to work by horse and buggy. Pfft.

          • AnarchyPrime

            Cell phones were just starting to become common 20 years ago. What was the life expectancy 20 years ago? About 1-2 years less than it is now. And that’s because of better medical technology and a significantly lower homicide rate.
            What about air conditioning? In 1980, just over half of households had central air conditioning. Now it’s almost 90%. Life expectancy 30 years ago was 2-4 years less than it is now, because of medical advances, far fewer smokers, and a larger percentage of people working less-dangerous white collar jobs. Drinking increased fluids, not being overweight, limiting physical exertion, and staying out of the sun are highly effective for avoiding heat stroke, even for the elderly. Air conditioning might be essential for a small number of frail, elderly people living in apartments in urban heat islands when they’re not prepared to keep cool via other means when their AC breaks down. But for the vast majority of people on this planet, AC is a luxury they can live without just fine.
            And lots of people in this country give up their cars and are quite happy with it. They’re called treehuggers, or New Yorkers (I used to be one of them). About 95% of the people on this planet do not have cars, so it’s hard to see how any sensible person can consider these essential either.

          • Not Sure

            You spewed about: “Please explain to us all how humans managed to get by for 200,000 years without these “essentials” and THAT is when I meant people died early. You can’t refute your own point about human history and then trot out modern stats to prove your own ignorant point. I don’t care that 95% of the population don’t have cars – they may not be strictly needed where they live, but in America, zoning laws dictate that your home cannot be near factories and other commercial spaces where jobs are. And if those 95% of people had access to cars, they would LOVE it because when a lot of people have to walk miles to find drinking water…

            Oh, forget it. You’re determined to feel superior to the poverty-stricken humans in your own backyard. Like I said – you are 1 crisis away from being bankrupt and homeless. And if such tragedy were to befall you, you would certainly deserve it. Some people need to walk a few miles in another’s shoes before they get it. And that will probably be the only way to make a jerk like you understand that there are REAL issues here in the US.

          • AnarchyPrime

            It has been thoroughly demonstrated that these things are not necessities for anyone other than a fairly small group of people, who could find other ways to adapt if they wanted to. The recent statistics were to put in perspective just how unnecessary these things were within living memory.

            I grew up in poverty, btw. I wasn’t pointing out my own superiority; I was pointing out the superiority of being counted among the officially poor people in this country to being poor in other countries, or in this country a few decades ago. It’s to the point that incredible technological luxuries are so commonplace they’re taken for granted by all and life without them is apparently a barely-comprehensible scenario.

          • Not Sure

            You have some serious cognitive deficiencies, dude. For at least the 3rd time, global stats mean jack squat. We live in an industrialized country. And again, times have changed over the last few decades. Phones are essential, and cellular is simply more practical (and cheaper) than land.

            I cannot get by without a cell phone. It’s how employers reach me. I cannot get by without access to a computer, it’s how I look for work. I cannot get by without a fridge because I don’t want food poisoning. I cannot get by without a car, due to a whole host of physical limitations that make public transit quite the ordeal. I can get by without a washer and dryer, but only because I have a car to go to a laundromat.

            I’m done arguing with you, because you’re denser than a black hole.

          • AnarchyPrime

            Sorry, but there are people who deliberately choose to live in this country without cell phones, without air conditioning, without computers, without refrigeration or electricity, and yet still (often) hold modern industrial jobs. They’re called Amish, and they’re thriving. Your refusal to acknowledge such unorthodox lifestyles (even among non-Amish) in this country is a clear and pitiful attempt to cling to that dreck you imagine to be an argument. You’ve chosen a lifestyle that depends upon certain luxuries, just as a professional clown depends upon grease paint floppy shoes for her job. But that doesn’t make cell phones or grease paint or floppy shoes necessary to live a long a fruitful life as a human being…. anywhere.


          • Not Sure

            LOL! The Amish have “modern industrial jobs”? Dude, you’re even more of an ignorant jackass than I originally said. There is truly no hope for you.

          • AnarchyPrime

            A lot of them work in factories owned and operated by non-Amish. A small but substantial percentage of them hold white collar jobs. What this demonstrates – despite your shameful failure to admit it – is that your so-called necessities are in fact luxuries accessible to even the poor in this wealthy country. Cell phones and air conditioning are things the Amish do without, and they have the same life expectancies as the rest of us.

            Did people 200,000 years ago have shorter life spans? Yes, but not because they were lacking cell phones, computers, Internet, and cable TV. The things you imagine to be “essential tools” are only essential if you choose to make them so.

          • Not Sure

            I don’t know why I bother, other than a reluctance to your getting the last word in. You exemplify the quote which I will paraphrase. (feel free to bust out a dictionary for the big words i use or ask an adult to explain them to you)

            Debating neocons is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.

            Just like your BS on global poverty, you also can’t hold forth the Amish as ‘proof’ Google is your friend, and it took mere minutes to determine that 0.08 of the nation is Amish. In short, what they do and how they cope does not matter to the average citizen. And if they DO work modern jobs, then they are not eschewing technology and therefore, not strictly Amish.

            And I highly doubt that there are any ‘white collar’ jobs that do not involve computers. Hell, you have to punch a computer to sell burgers or drive a truck.

            But again, if you feel that these things are not needed, go join the Amish. Give it all up if that’s what you believe. But you won’t, because deep down, you KNOW that modern tools equip us to get by in a modern society. At least, I hope that you’re not that irrecoverably obtuse but I sincerely have doubts on that. My time is better spent elsewhere. Go play with the other kids, grownups are trying to have a talk about the real world.

          • AnarchyPrime

            There are a quarter of a million Amish in this country, and their population is growing rapidly. They live without these things you imagine to be “necessities,” and they do so voluntarily. If these things are so utterly necessary, how is it that the Amish are thriving without them? If your hazy ramblings were even close to being true, the Amish would be the most miserable and desperate sub-population on the entire continent. But on the contrary, they are among the most healthy – physically and emotionally – people here.

            The Amish are .08% of the nation? People without cell phones were 100% of the population a few years ago. There is not an iota of logic supporting any of your pointless bellyaching. You don’t think white collar jobs can be had without computers? Please excuse me for not accepting your naivete and cantankerous incredulity as evidence superior to my own life experiences. And while you’re telling me to reach for a dictionary, you’re the one who can’t distinguish between “necessity,” and “really nice to have.”

            BTW, “Real Amish” don’t reject technology for the sake of rejecting technology.

            And no, will I give up my fantastical gadgets of modern scientific wizardry. I LIKE them, even though I know I can live without them (and in fact did so for a long time). Bill Gates has a massive home on Lake Washington. Obviously, he could live without it, and yet I’ll bet he could come up with better reasons for why it’s “a necessity” than you could for the luxuries you think people will die without.

            Just accept that fact that you are spoiled and that your cultural biases have left you astoundingly ignorant of other ways of life.

          • RedScourge

            There’s no sense in bringing reason, evidence, or facts to this debate, you’re arguing with a liberal. Anyone who disagrees with them is an ignorant neocon, and all they respond to is emotional storytelling, facts be damned, because their version of the facts are science, and so if you don’t agree, you’re anti-science. Destroying their argument by using their own argument against them is just going to make them entrench, because that’s what they call “being mean”.

            I’m in IT and I do web design and I didn’t have a cell until 2011 or a smartphone until 2013, so clearly cellphones are not essential, but this raving lunatic will never understand that because their mind is already made up. There’s a reason that basic logic is no longer taught in schools, and it’s because reason and logic are not desirable properties for tax livestock. If you want to have a chance of swaying this person, you have to find a personal emotional story where the focus of the story is a likeable person, and where their ideas are hurting this person, that is the only thing their rudimentary minds can understand, that’s why folks like Obama are always trying to find folks they claim will be helped by whatever idiotic regulation they’re touting at the time, to parade around.

  • The big Kuhana

    I found the information very informative! Whether we like it or not, we are our brothers/sisters kepers, unless one lives on an island by him/herself. Charity, love for our fellow human beings, and compassion are major component of Christ’s teaching. And it is really sad that people who would consider themseves ‘Christian’ can be so flippant and judgemental of others misfortune. And for those flippant and judgemental people out there, according to Mark 10:21 Christ urged the rich to give to the poor. And it would seems to suggest that Jesus himself was homeless based on Luke 9:58 which quotes Jesus as saying, “foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son (meaning himself) of Man has no place to lay his head”.
    So try and be a little more emphatetic and not so flippant, harsh and judgemental in your comments, especially if you are a so called Christian. Even if you are not, it is still a humane thing to do. But for the grace of God (or luck/fate) go you.

    • jmarvincampbell

      The most astute comment here. Well played, Mr. Kahuna. Well played.

  • ben_b

    One thing that I never see mentioned when discussing the minimum wage is, how many people work for the minimum wage? IE what percentage of the work force.

    • Elizabeth

      40% of people work for less than the inflation adjusted minimum wage.

  • idic5

    reviewing many of the posts below, there seems to be a confusion of the meaning of the word ‘poverty’ . THe toon illustrated the quantitative threshold for identifying poverty class, but did not define what it means to be in poverty. One line of thinking in the posts below compared the impoverished in america to the impoverished in the world outside of america, with the distinct comparison being the 3rd world. There are many 1st world countries that exceed america in many sets of measures. recall the cable show…

    I suspect poverty means living power, buying power in the space or land that it is defined. So poverty in Switzerland would be different than nigeria and probably wd be a fruitless comparison that is full of noise as any comparison to be valid s/ b apples with apples.

    So perhaps the presumed republican ( since I have heard the GOP bring up how easy the poor in america got it so often) seeks to have america on a more equal footing with those 3rd world countries for better comparisons. This exhibits what I like to call the ‘plantation consciousness’, or ‘Back to the 19th century – pronto!’

  • Liam

    We also waste more money these day that we did back then. We didn’t have $300/month whole family smartphone plans or $150/month cable and home internet. Those two alone are things even the poorest of families still seem to think are essential to our daily lives.

  • District13

    My wife and I are hitting 60. We started out working in cotton mills, food plants and the like. I started before turning 16 for $1.65 an hour. At 28 I worked for $6.39 an hour and was grateful to have it. But we weren’t stupid and didn’t think like victims. We never shamed ourselves with charity. We lived WAY below our means, learned the money game and played it to win. We’ll quit work forever in 20 months with a net worth that puts us in the top 5 or 6 percent. It’s doable today for ordinary people if you don’t ruin your life with dumb choices.



Andy Warner

SelfPortraitAndy Warner's comic journalism has been published by Symbolia, Slate,, American Public Media, Campus Progress and more. You can see more of his work at:

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