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Math Help - Percentage: 100+% below a number is a negative value?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Elusive1324 View Post
    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.
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    Re: Percentage: 100+% below a number is a negative value?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elusive1324 View Post
    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.

    "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.
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    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.
    Last edited by HallsofIvy; June 28th 2011 at 03:18 AM.
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    Re: Percentage: 100+% below a number is a negative value?

    Quote Originally Posted by HallsofIvy View Post
    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.)
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