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  • Monday, August 09, 2004


    Compare and contrast

    Recently wondering how to answer the questions I ask. I come up with a slew of questions and often have problems figuring out where to go on the Web to find accurate or even somwhat definitive answers. I think my questions are interesting, but do you? Here are a few questions and sites to go with them.

    What percentage of the population is homeless?
    To go after this one I had to go sideways at it. Since, as a group, the homeless are one of the most difficult demographics to pin down, I decided instead to start with poverty figures and then move on to estimates. The census figures from 2002 on poverty are shockingly large. I was particularly interested in how the number of people below the poverty line jumped almost 85% after subtracting taxes. So after taxes, 19% of the US population was living below the poverty level.

    A Massachusetts page on homelessnesness statistics also provided this little nugget:
    The 2002 poverty guidelines (a rough and ready figure) in the contiguous states
    are set at an income of $18,392 for a family of four, $9,183 for an individual. Source: US Department of Health and Human Services.
    A rule of thumb I heard over 25 years ago was that, ideally, your housing budget should not exceed one-fifth of your income. In urban US areas, that level is nearly impossible. For info from Sodexho (City Mayors Society) on poverty, try this link.

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