Nicholas Eberstadt writes

Perhaps not surprisingly, adults without a high school diploma had significantly higher age-standardized death rates than the general population: In 2002, the differential was over 50 percent among both men and women. Despite the relative magnitude of this disparity, however, in absolute terms death rates in 2002 for this educationally disadvantaged group were lower than they had been among the general public some years earlier. The overall age-standardized death rate for women 25 to 64 years of age in 1970, for example, was slightly higher than the 2002 rate for their counterparts who had not completed high school. Among adult men, death rates for the general public in 1970 were about 10 percent higher than among high-school dropouts in 2002.

Cox and Alm, in Myths of Rich and Poor, point out many types of durables goods that are more likely to be owned by poor households today than the average household in 1970. One comeback of critics is, “Yes, but durable goods do not matter as much as, say, health care.” Eberstadt answers that comeback. Read the whole thing.

My co-blogger recently wrote

– at least in the First World – ordinary prudence is enough to keep almost anyone out of poverty.

I agree. Every honest analysis of the problem of poverty sounds cold-hearted. The more pleasing description of poverty as a villains-and-victims story fails to match reality.