If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.


Many See Those in 'Poverty' As Not So Poor

A recent survey based on several government studies finds that many of those the federal government says are living in poverty have a decent place to live, adequate food on the table and two color TVs, among other amenities, and most Americans don't regard that as being poor. 

Sixty-three percent (63%) of American Adults think a family that is adequately fed and living in a house or apartment that is in good repair is not in poverty. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only nine percent (9%) disagree, with 27% more who are not sure.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Similarly, 51% believe a family that has two color TVs, a VCR and a DVD player is not living in poverty. Sixteen percent (16%) say a family like that is poor. Thirty-three percent (33%) are undecided.

Still, 73% of Americans believe poverty in the United States today is at least somewhat severe.  Twenty-three percent (23%) don’t think poverty in America is severe.  These figures include 31% who say it’s Very Severe and three percent (3%) who believe it’s Not At All Severe.

These findings show little change from surveys dating back to July 2007.

(Want a free daily e-mail update ? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter  or Facebook .  

The national survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on August 16-17, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC . See methodology.

Want to read more?

Become a Rasmussen Reader to read the article

Have an account?

Log In

Become a Reader


Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.

We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.

To learn more about our methodology, click here.