DEFINITION of 'Poverty'

A state or condition in which a person or community lacks the financial resources and essentials to enjoy a minimum standard of life and well-being that's considered acceptable in society. Poverty status in the United States is assigned to people that do not meet a certain threshold level set by the Department of Health and Human Services.


Poverty rates in the United Sates, the percentage of U.S. population with poverty status, are calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Census, and precludes institutionalized people, people living in military quarters, those living in college dormitories and individuals under the age of 15. Poverty rates are an important statistic to follow as a global investor, as a high poverty rate is often indicative of larger scale issues within the country in question.

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