Social Question

tooooookl's avatar

Do more people live in poverty in the USA or Europe?

Asked by tooooookl (29points) May 13th, 2010

Percentage wise do more people in Europe or USA live in poverty? What is the poverty line in these places?

And to give more details what is the average wage of people in the USA compared to Europe?

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7 Answers

marinelife's avatar

The answer is Europe, which averages 16.5% compared to the U.S.‘s 12.7 %.

“Proportion of Americans living below the poverty level: 12.7 percent (34.5 million people)
The average poverty threshold for a family of four: $16,660 in annual income
The average poverty threshold for a family of three: $13,003 in annual income”


“The rate of poverty varies between 10% and 23% in the countries of the European Union. Low levels of poverty characterize the Scandinavian countries, the so-called Corporatist countries (Austria, Germany), and the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia among the ex-Socialist countries.”


ETpro's avatar

Defining what constitutes poverty is central to this question. For instance, the Labor Government in the UK came out with a study that said 45% of British children lived in poverty. Of course, the instant reaction on hearing that is, “We must do something about that.” We tend to think of poverty as meaning not enough to eat, shabby clothes and worn out, hand-me-down shoes, clapboard housing thrown together of refuse. But in the UK, social programs make sure that even the unemployed and the unemployable have enough to eat, adequate hosing, healthcare, free education and a stipend for clothing and necessities. Labor meant that 45% of British children were in homes making only 60% of the national average income. But is that poverty? Not by what I think of when I hear the word.

Different income levels and poverty standards, country to country make it difficult to compare statistics broadly around the world. What passes for poverty in the USA and most of Europe would be considered life on easy street in the Third World.

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro Defining what constitutes Europe might help, too.
I predict a de-Greeced EU in the near future

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo You may be right about that if the Greeks don’t man up and start carrying their share of the load.

mattbrowne's avatar

Poverty in countries like Romania, Bulgaria and Belarus is worse than in Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi.

If you are poor in Western Europe you are better off than in the US. Especially when you got health problems.

Nullo's avatar

@mattbrowne How do those countries measure up to Appalachia?

mattbrowne's avatar

@Nullo – You mean Romania, Bulgaria and Belarus? If yes, they are still far behind Appalachia. But they had to endure decades of communism while Appalachia has enjoyed a free market economy. And Belarus is still ruled by a corrupt psychopath. The EU has already done some good to Romania and Bulgaria. But further progress will require time.

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