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How the US government officially defines poverty

``Families and unrelated individuals are classified as being above or below the poverty level using the poverty index originated at the Social Security Administration in 1964 and revised by Federal Interagency Committees in 1969 and 1980. The poverty index is based solely on money income and does not reflect the fact that many low-income people receive noncash benefits such as food stamps, medicaid, and public housing.'' -- from Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1984. Currently, a family of four with income under $10,178 is classified as living in poverty.

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