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Mollie’s measure

Mollie’s measure
 n.— «The current federal poverty threshold was developed in the 1960s by Mollie Orshansky, an economist with the Social Security Administration, who based her number on a 1955 Department of Agriculture study that said low-income Americans spent about a third of their after-tax money on food. If a family had annual income equal to three times the annual cost of basic groceries, Orshansky reasoned, they were not poor. Obviously, that formula was developed in a very different America. Yet Mollie’s Measure, as it is known in poverty circles, is still pegged to an annual grocery bill, adjusted for little more than price increases over time.» —“New York City breaks ranks in assessing the criteria for ‘poor’” by Leslie Kaufman Taipei Times (Taiwan) Jan. 4, 2008. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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