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Poverty level

According to the U.S. Census Bureau,

If a family’s total income is less than that family’s threshold, then that family, and every individual in it, is considered poor. The official poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The official poverty definition counts money income before taxes and does not include capital gains and noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps[?]).

People whose before-tax cash income is below the poverty level are often said to be "living in poverty", but U.S. welfare benefits can bring a family well above the poverty level. It might better be said that these families are "living in comfort".

In discussions about world poverty, the U.S. is said to have a relatively high poverty level. Official figures of 11% of Americans below the poverty level cannot be compared fairly with the poverty levels of countries which don't provide welfare or whose income statistics include welfare.

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