Walter E. Williams, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, summarizes 3 recent papers about poverty in America: "Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America's Poor", "The Material Well-Being of the Poor and the Middle Class Since 1980", and "Income Mobility in the U.S. from 1996 to 2005".
The truth is that there isn't nearly as much poverty in the U.S. as is commonly assumed. And poverty doesn't tend to be nearly as bad as we assume it is. It's still plenty bad. And being part of a smaller group of poor people doesn't make it suck any less to be poor. But having an accurate view of poverty might change the ways and means that we use to alleviate and attack poverty.