What is classified as a low- to moderate-income level is in a constant state of change as the economy continues to grow and add wealth to society. Making what would have been a state of luxury in the past merely normal today. As society continues to increase wealth in an exponential way, what is considered low to moderate income will continue to change. Poverty no longer means starvation as it did in the past.
As of 2006, the median household income in the United States reached just over $50,000. This typically includes the earnings of at least two people who are working full time. The median income for men working full time was just over $43,000 a year. Women earned less at $33,000 a year. Earners in this income range were able to live relatively comfortable lifestyles and often own property such as houses and stock investments.
The bottom 20 percent of individual earners, as of 2006, earned less than $19,000 in a year. Often this includes very young workers and those with other disadvantages. Most members of this income group rely at least to an extent on government aid programs to help pay their debts and make ends meet. The income of low earners in the United States still usually allows for high living standards as measured by the world.
The wealth level of most households can be correlated with certain other social factors that influence the wealth potential of individuals. It has been found that there are stark differences in average income between those who have high school degrees and those who don't. An even greater one appears to have opened up between those who have only high school degrees and those who have some form of college degree. As well age matters significantly.
There have been many attempts to reduce the level of poverty in the United States by focusing on both public and private measures. These have had mostly mixed results. Through the use of welfare programs the government has managed to reduce some of the worse hardships of poverty. These same programs have been criticized for locking people into lifestyles of poverty. Other attempts have involved encouraging private funding and investment for under served areas and groups.