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The U.S. government defines the poverty level as an income three times the cost of a nutritionally adequate diet. In spite of a number of political efforts to eliminate poverty in the United States, a consistent percentage of the population remains in poverty. In 1964, when President Lyndon B.Johnson initiated the War on Poverty program, approximately 36 million Americans lived in poverty. That number decreased until the early 1970s, when it began to rise again. By the second decade of the AIDS crisis, the 1990s, approximately 39.3 million Americans met federal standards for poverty.