(ECONOMICS) an alternative metric of poverty; used instead of the poverty level by some researchers.

Developed as a superior alternative to the federal poverty level to estimate the income required for families to pay for their basic needs. Computed at the county level, the SSS takes into account the costs of food, housing, health insurance, childcare, transportation, taxes, and other basic expenses, with component values varying across more than 70 different family types. SSS wages have been calculated to date for all counties in 35 states and the District of Columbia.
Usually people are not concerned by reports of the large numbers of people living below the poverty level, because they assume it just means poor people have to tighten their belts.

The self-sufficiency standard (SSS), if explained, should change this. If a person's wages are below the SSS, then she is not only not making enough to meet her current needs, she's not making enough to preserve her ability to earn what little she has.
by Primus Intra Pares July 16, 2010

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