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

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

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

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.

"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.

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