The Economic Perspective: “Extreme Poverty”

I’m Mary Walden, with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at extreme poverty.  Mike, poverty is a constant concern in our country, and each year the federal government releases official poverty rates for the nation and states.   But I’ve heard of a complementary concept termed “extreme poverty.”  What is it and how does it differ from the common poverty measure?

Mike: Summary Answer

  1. Think of extreme poverty as the poorest of the poor
  2. The most common measure is a person living on less than $2 a day
  3. Some studies indicate the number individuals living in extreme poverty has been rising
  4. However, as with the overall poverty rate, individual classified as living in extreme poverty are done so before the value of government programs are included
  5. Once programs like SNAP (food stamps) and Medicaid are included, a recent study showed 90% of those classified as in extreme poverty are now not living in that condition
  6. Further, of those who remain, 90% are single individuals, suggesting further outreach efforts may be needed to get them assistance
  7. I’m MW

And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.