New reports from the NAS poverty measure show that 1 in 6 Americans are living in poverty. The news here is that the NAS figure increases the number of impoverished Americans by nearly 8 million over estimates that are based on the census bureaus index. The NAS measure accounts for increased health, transportation, childcare, and regional costs of living that are not equally reflected in the census bureau index.
The discrepancy should raise the question of what qualifies as poor. These unfortunate Americans have a great deal more access to standard human welfare than the 1 in 6 globally who are suffering in extreme poverty and benefit from important domestic safety net programs. I do not wish to disrespect the difficulties faced by those suffering in relative poverty in the US, nor to suggest that our measures of poverty are inflated. However if we are concerned to the point of action by their plight, should we not also take steps to address the crushing needs of the 1 billion living on less than 1.25$ a day.