America’s Poverty Rate + Free Advertising

by Sandy L on October 20, 2010

Budget Planner – Mint.com

So, there have been a few bloggers recently that have been debating whether the economy is recovering or not.  It seems like this chart from mint says it all.

Some parts of the country look pretty good with less than 10% of the population living below poverty level, but when you get into the deep south, things are looking pretty ugly.

Just in case you’re curious, where I live has less than 10% poverty.  I see one major flaw in this map though. It reads like some of the major coastal cities have very low poverty rates.  This chart is based on household income only, so there are no cost of living adjustments made on this chart.  I do think the poverty in CA and NYC is higher than stated. I seriously doubt that if you’re a swinging single in Manhattan making $11,000 a year, you’re out clubbing and having martinis.

Creative Advertising

The second reason I wanted to show people this chart, is that I think it’s a great example of free advertising. Mint’s blog had the code listed right on the article so that you could just plunk it on your website.   What a great way to get exposure for this company at a very low cost. It probably cost a lot less to have someone compile this map than it would to buy the giant ad space this will take up on people’s sites.  I give mint an A+ for this one. I love data…and so do people who frequent mint. It really was a fantastic idea to get to they’re target audience.

What do you guys thing of the map and the built in ad? Clever no?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole October 20, 2010 at 8:16 AM

Yes! Very clever. There’s a post-doc at Harvard who really wants to get her hands on their data to study savings behavior. (Heck, I’d love it too). Maps like this make me think that perhaps she will be successful.

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Everyday Tips October 20, 2010 at 9:03 AM

My state is around 15 percent. I am actually surprised it isn’t higher.

I think it is a very smart idea. However, I can’t imagine the amount of work it took to put this data together. So, I say, let them advertise!

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Invest It Wisely October 20, 2010 at 11:31 AM

That is a pretty interesting map. It looks like the capitol region is doing just fine. ;)

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The Lost Goat October 20, 2010 at 6:21 PM

I agree that failure to account for cost of living makes this a pretty meaningless metric of poverty. Just look at housing costs. Where I live (rural Louisiana), you can rent a thousand square foot house in a decent neighborhood for $400 / mo. That leaves about $1433 a month remaining for living expenses. Not extravagant, but doable. On the coasts, I’m not sure you can rent a comparable house for $1400 / month. So the lifestyle difference is appreciable, on exactly the same salary.

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Squirrelers October 20, 2010 at 7:01 PM

Aside from the flaws in their presentation of data without context (I enjoy interpreting data/generating insights) , the aspect of using this as free exposure for them was clever. Smart work on their part. I, for one, had already retweeted this. Thus, they got me in a way. I already recognized the map when I saw it here on your blog:) Anyway, I agree with your points.

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Sandy L October 20, 2010 at 7:19 PM

Nicole – yeah, I love this kind of data and interpreting it. The mint site has even more detail if you want to check it out.

Everyday Tips – Yeah, I was also surprised that Michigan wasn’t worse.

Goat – Wow $400, that’s unheard of around here, even in the deepest parts of the hood.

Squirreler – I’m the world’s worst social media person. I don’t think I can keep up with a blog, tweeting, stumbling, face booking. I’m impressed that you can do it all.

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Little House October 20, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Quite clever. I’m a sucker for interactive maps so I might have to incorporate this map into one of my own posts! As for what accounts for poverty, I think it’s ridiculous to base it on a flat household income since the cost of living varies dramatically across states and cities.

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Sandy L October 21, 2010 at 7:18 AM

Little House – f you look at the legend, it also assumes that for every additional person in a household, the poverty threshold only goes up $3000/year. Okay, if it’s a kid, maybe that is possible, but adults, I think that’s pretty hard.

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Molly On Money October 21, 2010 at 8:08 AM

I love statistics. I use them in conversations ALL the time! I have the same issue other readers have with this sort of generalized poverty rate= the same income. I live in NM where the poverty rate is over 15% (and in some areas close to 30%). You can live pretty cheaply in most of the state except for one city, Santa Fe. Rents are comparable to San Francisco along with other cost of living expenses.
I love the map!

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youngandthrifty October 22, 2010 at 2:08 AM

Yeah, I think Mint is pretty clever for coming up with this infographic.

Interesting to see that the poverty level is so divided up into little pockets.

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