Washington University professor Mark Rank is set to publish a book revealing how large the number of Americans who experience poverty is, as well as what "poverty" really means in this case. Rank's research learned that nearly 40 percent of Americans will live at least one year between the ages of 25 and 60 below the poverty line. Fortunately, the majority of them will be able to dig themselves out of that ditch.

According to Panel Study of Income Dynamics data collected from 1968 to 2009, 38.9 percent of American adults will spend a year below the poverty line, but only 11.6 percent will remain in that hole for at least five years. Consistent poverty is uncommon, with just over six percent of adults experiencing it for five or more years and less than two percent of them spending a decade or more in poverty. 

As for what constitutes as poverty, it has more to do with financial security, or insecurity, to be specific. Some adults who experience impoversihed periods may not be "poor" in the traditional sense, but they're certainly not financially stable. You can be in a higher tax bracket and still be broke; it's all relative.

Poverty is a frightening reality brought on by mistakes in some cases and unavoidable circumstances in others. While this study suggests that it's only long-lasting in rare instances, it's still uncomfortable to think that so many Americans could struggle to simply survive at one point during their adult lives.

[via The Atlantic]