# Percentage: 100+% below a number is a negative value?

• Jun 25th 2011, 10:49 PM
Elusive1324
Percentage: 100+% below a number is a negative value?
Hello,

I ran into this sentence while while reading this article and didn't think the percentage made sense. The question I posed was: what is the monetary value of income considered to be at poverty level?

"Borrowers with incomes below 150 percent of the poverty level ($14,700 for a single person and$19,800 for a household of two people in 2006) should not be expected to make loan payments, the researchers said. "

Source:
How much student debt is too much? - MarksJarvis on Money

What didn't make sense to me was that $14,700 is 150% below some value considered to be at-poverty income. 100% below any value considered to be the level of poverty is$0 so 150% below any value would indicate a negative balance which conflicts with the reported $14,700. • Jun 25th 2011, 11:09 PM earboth Re: Percentage: 100+% below a number is a negative value? Quote: Originally Posted by Elusive1324 Hello, I ran into this sentence while while reading this article and didn't think the percentage made sense. The question I posed was: what is the monetary value of income considered to be at poverty level? "Borrowers with incomes below 150 percent of the poverty level ($14,700 for a single person and $19,800 for a household of two people in 2006) should not be expected to make loan payments, the researchers said. " Source: How much student debt is too much? - MarksJarvis on Money What didn't make sense to me was that$14,700 is 150% below some value considered to be at-poverty income. 100% below any value considered to be the level of poverty is $0 so 150% below any value would indicate a negative balance which conflicts with the reported$14,700.

When I read an English text I have to translate it into German to understand it. So I'll show you the results of my translations:

1. I'll take the case of a single person. The poverty level is at $14.700. 2. 150% of$14.700 is $22.050 3. So the text states that a person who earns less than$22.050 should not given any loan.

... but as I said at the start my translations could be all wrong.
• Jun 26th 2011, 04:02 AM
e^(i*pi)
Re: Percentage: 100+% below a number is a negative value?
Quote:

Originally Posted by Elusive1324
Hello,

I ran into this sentence while while reading this article and didn't think the percentage made sense. The question I posed was: what is the monetary value of income considered to be at poverty level?

You've answered your own question below. $14,700 for a single person and$19,800 for a household of two people in 2006. I will have expected that to increase with inflation since 2006.

Quote:

"Borrowers with incomes below 150 percent of the poverty level ($14,700 for a single person and$19,800 for a household of two people in 2006) should not be expected to make loan payments, the researchers said. "
If you wanted to work out that minimum wage at which one could expect loan payments to be made it would be 1.5x the threshold for poverty. For a single person $14,700 \cdot 1.5 = 22,050$

This is the danger of stats, median wages may have gone up but unemployment and inflation could well have put more people into relative poverty.
• Jun 26th 2011, 05:31 AM
HallsofIvy
Re: Percentage: 100+% below a number is a negative value?
You are misreading. It does not say that $14,700 "is 150% below some value considered to be at-poverty income". It is saying that$14,700 is "poverty level" and then talks about an income "below 150 percent of the poverty level" which is 1.50(14700)= $22050. Notice also that 150% is 3/2. It's reciprocal is 2/3.$14700 is 2/3, or about 67%, of $22050. • Jun 27th 2011, 09:25 PM Elusive1324 Re: Percentage: 100+% below a number is a negative value? Quote: Originally Posted by HallsofIvy You are misreading. It does not say that$14,700 "is 150% below some value considered to be at-poverty income". It is saying that $14,700 is "poverty level" and then talks about an income "below 150 percent of the poverty level" which is 1.50(14700)=$22050. Notice also that 150% is 3/2. It's reciprocal is 2/3. $14700 is 2/3, or about 67% of$22050.

Thanks for clarifying HallsofIvy. I'll be more cautious next time!

However, suppose the article did say that - that 14,700 is 150% below some value considered to be at-poverty level, would I have been correct in suggesting that the percentage wouldn't have made sense? Let 'x' be the value considered to be at-poverty. The value that is 150% below 'x' would be: x - (1.5*x), less than 0. (I ask to answer the question posed in the title.)