Exploring Society By The Numbers

Who Are the Poor?

Peter Meiksins, Cleveland State University


In this assignment, we will perform a simple analysis of poor households in the United States, considering whether certain kinds of households are more likely to be poor and what sorts of households make up the largest proportion of the poor. Students will be looking at three characteristics that may be associated with poverty: race, age, and family type.

Learning Goals

  • You will learn why it is important to understand what percentages refer to (percentage of what?!)
  • You will gain some experience writing about simple, two-variable tables.
  • You will learn something about what kinds of households in the United States are at greatest risk of being poor.

Context for Use

This exercise was developed for use in an lower-level sociology course that focuses on demographics, income and poverty across households in the United States.

Description and Teaching Materials

Exercises: PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 89kB Mar31 09)
Exercises: DOC (Microsoft Word 46kB Mar31 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity uses a customized data set made from the 2000 Census and guides students through data manipulation using WebCHIP software found at DataCounts!. To open WebCHIP with the dataset for the activity, please see instructions and links in the exercise documents under teaching materials. For more information on how to use WebCHIP, see the How To section on DataCounts!


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References and Resources

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