The poverty threshold defined by the US Census bureau for 2004 ranges between $9,000 to $40,000, depending on the number of members including children in the family. And various estimates found on the web, that between 13 million to 30 million people, qualify as being poor. While there may be some reservation about whether all qualify, depending on what they have by way of assets and whether this is a temporary income condition, it seems reasonable to assume that an income level below $10,000 sustained over years, for an adult with dependent family, should qualify for the definition of poor.
What I find as most interesting is how wide the poverty threshold is.
If you go look at Political Calculations list of job for the un-degreed, all of them start below the high end of the poverty threshold and some of them don't break it at the high end.
But they are still far above the world poverty line, though that doesn't really matter it is the local conditions that effect you more then how rich someone is on another continent or even another country, but the people right around you. You can seem very wealthy compared to those around you but be poor compared to others further away.
Just look at any cost of living comparison calculator, a good job in the American Midwest supports a good lifestyle that in California or Boston would be relatively dirt poor. It is no wonder so many people are selling their overpriced homes in California and moving east.
The worst part about poverty is the mindset people around you can take. He doesn't have the best clothes so he must be dumb and things like that. Clothes don't make the man, but many people think that way.
Well, more thought provoking stuff from COTC.