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Dataset on Wages Below Poverty Line in the United States (1973-2022)

Dataset on Wages Below Poverty Line in the United States (1973-2022)


Dive into the complex landscape of poverty in the United States, where economic challenges create barriers to a better life for many. This article delves into the who, what, when, where, and why of living below the poverty line, shedding light on the realities faced by a significant portion of the population.

Who Lives Below the Poverty Line?

Faces of Struggle

Individuals and families from diverse backgrounds find themselves below the poverty line. This includes the unemployed, underemployed, and those facing systemic barriers, such as racial and gender disparities.

The Working Poor

Surprisingly, a significant number are employed but earn wages that do not lift them above the poverty threshold. The working poor navigate the delicate balance of making ends meet while striving for upward mobility.

What Does it Mean to Live Below the Poverty Line?

Economic Hardships

Living below the poverty line signifies grappling with economic hardships that extend beyond financial instability. It encompasses challenges related to healthcare, education, housing, and access to basic necessities.

Government Definitions

The poverty line is defined by the government, taking into account factors such as family size and geographical location. Individuals or families falling below this threshold are officially recognized as living in poverty.

When and Where is Poverty Prominent?

Urban and Rural Dynamics

Poverty exists both in urban centers and rural areas. However, the manifestations and challenges may differ. Urban areas often face issues like high living costs, while rural communities may confront limited job opportunities and healthcare access.

Economic Downturns

Historically, economic downturns amplify poverty rates. Recessions and unforeseen crises can disproportionately affect vulnerable communities, pushing more individuals and families below the poverty line.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Addressing Poverty


  • Economic Growth: Addressing poverty contributes to overall economic growth by fostering a more inclusive and productive society.
  • Social Stability: Reducing poverty enhances social stability, creating a foundation for healthier communities.


  • Resource Allocation Challenges: Governments and organizations may face challenges in allocating sufficient resources to combat poverty effectively.
  • Systemic Barriers: Addressing poverty requires dismantling systemic barriers, a complex and time-consuming process.

Below Poverty Line

FAQs About Living Below the Poverty Line

How Can Individuals Escape Poverty?

Answer: Education, skill development, and targeted support programs play crucial roles in empowering individuals to escape poverty.

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What Role Does Systemic Racism Play in Poverty?

Answer: Systemic racism contributes to racial disparities in income, education, and employment, leading to higher poverty rates among marginalized communities.

Dataset Overview: This dataset presents comprehensive information on poverty-level wages in the United States spanning the years 1973 to 2022.

Key features include data on both annual and hourly poverty-level wages, along with wage shares across various income brackets. The dataset originates from the Economic Policy Institute’s State of Working America Data Library, a valuable resource for in-depth economic analysis of labor market trends.

Task Suggestions:
1. Investigate the evolving trend of annual poverty-level wages over the specified time frame.
2. Conduct a comparative analysis of hourly poverty-level wages between male and female demographics.
3. Explore the distribution of workers earning below poverty-level wages based on racial categories.
4. Examine the wage distribution across different poverty wage ranges.
5. Investigate income disparities across distinct income brackets (e.g., 0-75%, 75-100%, etc.) for both men and women.
6. Determine the proportion of workers earning above the poverty level (300% and above) over the years.
7. Calculate the percentage change in poverty-level wages from one year to the next for comprehensive trend analysis.

Get data from below link

Poverty-Level Wages in the USA Dataset (1973-2022)


Exploring life below the poverty line reveals the diverse faces and challenges of those navigating economic hardships in the United States. As society grapples with the complexities of poverty, understanding its dimensions and advocating for systemic change is essential to fostering a more equitable future.

External Links:

  1. U.S. Census Bureau – Poverty Data
  2. National Alliance to End Homelessness


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