The national poverty level is set at $24,250 for a family of four. According to government statistics it takes between $9K and $12K per year to raise ONE child. The assumption then is that a family of four is spending between $18K and $24K per year on JUST the children. Maybe that's possible if you're living in a small town or a rural area, but that poverty line is the same whether you live in San Francisco (where average rent is upwards of $2.5K-$5K a month) or Burns, TN (where rent is closer to $500 a month.) None of this makes sense.