This paper introduces a new method for defining poverty lines based on an individual' s self-evaluation of the household's present situation. The proposed method focuses on the minimum household income necessary to purchase food supplies evaluated by society to be barely adequate. The method is especially useful for evaluation and comparing poverty thresholds derived from different methods. It is also valuable for comparing the official U.S. poverty guidelines across households of different sizes. The approach can be extended to include estimation of thresholds differentiated by various household characteristics and comparison of thresholds across these characteristics.


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