September 20, 2010

WHEN AFFLUENCE IS POVERTY:

Poverty rate: Are Americans really poorer than in 1960?: Poverty rate rose to 14.3 percent in 2009, but government figures don't capture very well the long-term rise in living standards. (Laurent Belsie, September 19, 2010, CS Monitor)

[B]y focusing on consumption patterns, Dr. Sullivan says, researchers can at least get a more realistic handle on what's happening with people's living standards. And there are signs of progress since 1959 (or 1960, when the census came out), he adds.

For examples, back in 1960:

* A 21-inch black-and-white Philco tabletop TV cost about $1,800 in today's dollars and could receive only a handful of channels;
* A refrigerator with freezer cost the equivalent of $1,510 in today’s dollars;
* A two-speed automatic washing machine, primitive by today's standards, cost the equivalent of $1,100;
* Only 12 percent of homes had air-conditioning (versus 84 percent last year);
* Only 8 percent of the population had completed four years of college (versus 27 percent today).

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 20, 2010 8:16 PM
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