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The federal government classifies a family as poor if its pretax cash income falls below a certain minimum standard This standard was established by dividing the average expenditure for a minimally adequate diet by the average share of family income spent on food The federal poverty line is adjusted for family size and for changes in the average cost of living in the United States but it is not adjusted for regional or local differences The number of children living in low-income families is quite large In addition to the five million children under six whose families were officially poor in 1987 another 27 million lived in near poor families with incomes between 100 percent and 150 percent of the poverty line Many of these families have as much difficulty as officially poor families purchasing food shelter and medicare and other needed goods and services Some have even more difficulty making ends meet because of there ineligibility for various forms of noncash assistance available to the poor or because they are unaware that such assistance is available It is often hard also to distinguish between children living near poverty and children living in poverty In the book Five Million Children focuses on three important issues of poor children under six who are they and where do they live why are they poor and what risks do poor children face The information presented pertains to children who live in houses and apartments because this is the population founded by household surveys According to three national studies of homeless children aged 16 and under somewhere between 41000 and 106000 children are literally homeless at any given time Homeless meaning the live in shelters churches or public places with no permanent residence Between
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