Redraw the Line?

Source: Maggie Tishman, Next American City, Web Exclusive, August 27th, 2009

The idea of a “poverty line” is a peculiar one, as if all the complexities of human and economic wellbeing could be summed up by a simple binary: have or have not. Born of unimaginative policymaking and perpetuated by the convenience of the status quo, such a black-and-white designation oversimplifies the complicated, dynamic and deeply personal experience of being poor. But more than 40 years since the line’s inception, it is still the barometer for all official poverty statistics collected by the government, and still serves as the baseline for nearly all anti-poverty policies.

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