Many Americans Survive on $2 a Day

To measure poverty in the developing world most economists look at how many people survive on $2 per day or less. It's the standard benchmark, compared to America where the official poverty line for one person is worth approximately $32 per day. Recently, a pair of economists from the Brookings Institute decided to turn that lens inward.

According to work by researchers Laurence Chandy and Cory Smith, millions of Americans might fall below even third world definitions of poverty. Calling their results "striking," the researchers said that anywhere up to 12 million Americans could fall below this threshold depending on the definition of personal resources and the data sets used.