ACT Reading Practice Test 72: Social Science - Defining the Poverty Line: A Political Question

DIRECTIONS: Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.



1. In the context of lines 46–51, the statement "the measure came to be known as the poverty line" (line 51) is used to support the idea that:

A. poverty can be measured and defined by a single number.
B. poor neighborhoods in the United States are marked off from richer neighborhoods by a metaphorical line.
C. inflation and household size are the only variables needed to define poverty.
D. poor people often have to stand in line to receive government support.

2. It can be reasonably inferred from the passage that:

F. being poor means not being able to afford a DVD player.
G. Americans have overcome poverty in recent years.
H. defining poverty is complex and difficult to do.
J. lowering the poverty line would not impact the economic health of the U.S.

3. It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that Orshansky estimated that, in the 1950s, the fraction of household income the average American family spent on nonfood items was:

A. less than one-third.
B. one-third.
C. between one-third and two-thirds.
D. approximately two-thirds.

4. Which of the following best expresses the paradox described in the fifth paragraph (lines 53–69)?

F. Americans today have to spend far less of their income on food, which makes them seem richer by Orshansky's measure, but they have to spend far more on other necessary items, which makes them really much poorer.
G. Americans today have far more money than they did in the 1950s, which makes them much richer than they used to be.
H. In America today, ensuring reliable transportation is far more important to families than providing nutritious meals.
J. Orshansky's economic model neglects to account for the cost of modern technology, but it includes a detailed discussion of the modern economy.

5. According to the passage, the impact of Orshansky's economic model on the distribution of federal aid to the poor is that:

A. far more federal money is now available to help the poor.
B. poor people are unaware that they are eligible for $260 billion in Medicaid assistance.
C. legitimately poor people are not receiving the aid they're entitled to receive from the federal government.
D. poor people are not receiving government aid because the government does not know where they live.

6. The author traces Orshansky's economic model back to its origins in:

F. the merger between the Social Security Administration and the Office of Management and Budget.
G. President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty.
H. President Lyndon Johnson's Head Start program.
J. the Civil Rights movement of the early 1960s.

7. The main point of the first paragraph is that:

A. the United States does an excellent job taking care of its poor.
B. poverty is an important issue in society, and it must be measured accurately so that aid can be given effectively.
C. public assistance programs must be eliminated if they are found to be ineffective at alleviating poverty.
D. poverty is an issue that affects few modern societies.

8. According to the passage, which of the following statements is accurate regarding the percentage of income the average American family spends on food?

F. The percentage of income the average American family spends on food has increased dramatically since the 1950s.
G. The average American family now spends most of its money on food.
H. The percentage of income spent on food has decreased from approximately 33% to approximately 12% since the 1950s.
J. The percentage of income spent on food has increased from approximately 12% to approximately 33% since the 1950s.

9. The passage implies that no president has been willing to change the poverty measure for all of the following reasons EXCEPT:

A. no president has been willing to increase the perceived level of poverty.
B. changing the poverty level will increase the number of people eligible for federal aid.
C. no president wants to risk making the economy look less healthy.
D. poverty is an obvious problem and presidents are more concerned with complex problems.

10. According to the passage, Orshansky's role in President Johnson's "War on Poverty" was to:

F. provide a precise measure of the number of poor who needed help in the early 1960s.
G. answer critics who complained that the government was not doing enough to help the poor.
H. provide a precise measure of the number of poor people eligible for Job Corps programs.
J. support the annual budget of the Social Security Administration.