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In 2003 the US Census Bureau reported an increase in poverty among Americans; nearly 35,000,000 Americans live below the poverty level. What exactly does it mean to be poor? And how many of us might qualify as being poor? Perhaps when you see how much American poor have you will quickly realize that the poor in America are not so poor after all.

• 46% of all poor households own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor is a three bedroom house and with 1½ baths a garage and patio. (I for one am jealous of the garage.)

• 76% of poor households have air conditioning. (I’m jealous again.)

• Only 6% of poor households are overcrowded; more than 2/3 have more than two rooms per person. The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, and many other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are of average citizens in foreign countries and not those classified as poor.)

• Nearly ¾ of poor households own a car. 30% owned two or more cars.

• 97% of poor households have a color television; over one half have two or more color TVs. 78% have a VCR or DVD player. 62% have cable or satellite TV reception.

• 73% of poor households own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and 1/3 an automatic dishwasher.

• 89% of poor families report having “enough” food to eat, while only 2% say they “often” do not have enough to eat.

(THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION – January 5, 2004; http://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/bg1713.cfm)