How can there be so much misery and insecurity in the midst of such abundance? One of the first things we see is that poverty doesn’t exist all by itself. It is simply one end of an overall distribution of income and wealth in society as a whole. Poverty is both a structural aspect of the system and consequence of how the system is organized and how people participate in it.
Poverty in America is a very complex issue that can be looked at from many directions. There are a plethora of statistics and theories about poverty in America that can be confusing and at times contradicting. It is important to objectively view statistics to gain a better understanding of poverty and to wade through the stereotypes and the haze of cultural views that can misrepresent the situation.The official poverty line in America begins with a person making at or below $12,060. To calculate the poverty line for a family, an additional $4,180 is added to the base of $12,060 for each additional member(“Federal Poverty Level Guidelines”). According to the last U.S. census, over 45 million or 14.5% of Americans are at or below the poverty line(Worstall). At this level, the U.S. poverty level has not changed much from the 1970s when the government began a “War on Poverty.” However,
When one hears poverty they think of having no money or a house and being on the streets like a homeless person. That is in fact true but, poverty is more than that it is more widespread across income levels. Not just those at the absolute bottom of income earned and wages. 12% of Americans are unable to meet their basic needs 20% being 18 years or younger (mit.edu). Poverty does not just affect people on the individual level it also can have effects on communities as a whole.
This comparison shows how poverty levels, in recent years, are plateauing with around 15% of the population living below the poverty line. The perpetuation of this issue suggests that poverty, unlike a recession or a brief economic downturn, is a persistent issue that continually affects our global society. But what does poverty or impoverishment mean? The definition of poverty is more than a simple state of hardship but rather a time economic turmoil. The specific poverty threshold varies from state to state but on average is $12,082 for one person and $24,257 for a family of four (2012 US Census Bureau). For the individual living alone, the poverty line would mean living on about $30 a day; for the family of four, the poverty line would mean about $16 a day per person. And with this daily dollar amount, people must pay for housing, gas, electricity, heating, food, child care, education fees and more. By looking how much needs to be paid and how little they actually have, it becomes clear how their lives are a struggle for basic survival. Poverty tends to affect certain demographics of people more than others. Amongst ethnic groups, poverty rates are highest amongst Black Americans at 24% with Hispanic Americans following at 21%
Poverty: a never ending cycle of American disappointment. There are many reasons why poverty is so prominent: the corrupt government, education systems, the never-ending circle, the materialized world, and the morality of it all. Throughout time, people have stumbled among the dilemma of helping or ignoring. We often stumble on the questions, “How do we fix this issue? Can we? Would we?”. Everyone has his or her own opinion on the topic, but does that change the morality of it? Poverty is a very controversial issue in America, but when broken down into causes and solutions it is actually very simple.
Many times it is easy for people to hide certain aspects of their lives. However, poverty is not one of them. When a person is poor, it is humiliating for themselves, their families, and is very difficult to overcome. Although poverty is not always a choice, it is a preventable problem in today’s society that can be fixed. If people have the ability to recognize that this is a problem that affects people everywhere and are willing to do something about it, the percentage of poverty-stricken persons would be down to almost nothing.
Poverty in America is not indicated by a specific income level, as most people think, but instead by a comparison of 48 possible poverty thresholds taking into account family size and composition without regard to geographic locations (Macartney, 2011). For example, the poverty threshold for a family of 5 with two children under the age of 18 would be $27,517 (census.gov 2013); an amount that would be difficult to live off of in major cities where the cost of living is much higher. According to the Current Population Survey, 2013 Annual Social and Economic Supplement for the year 2012, there are 46.5 million people in America who are living in poverty, including 21.8 percent of children under the age of 18; the highest percentage since 2001 (census.gov 2013).
Today’s world is faced with numerous social problems that pose enormous threats to humanity. Many of these problems threaten our very survival. Poverty is an issue that plagues all societies in every part of the world. Not even the most privileged countries can seemingly avoid it. It has a huge presence in the United States which is one of the wealthiest nations in the world.
People, especially those from wealthy nations, do not truly understand how large of a problem poverty is and how many areas it effects. Not only does it cause economical issues, but it can contribute to social and security issues as well.
Poverty is a social issue that has be a problem for humanity since the beginning of time. Poverty has been a consistent and ongoing problem throughout history all over the world (Rasheed, 2013). No matter what the society is like or the median salary inside that society there have always been people who are homeless and starving (Rasheed, 2013). Despite the United States being a modern, developed country we still struggle with poverty and unemployment (Rasheed, 2013). Every day there are people struggling to find food, clothing and shelter. This problem in society has various effects on different government institutions (Rasheed, 2013). The federal government measures poverty by the numbers (Rasheed, 2013). “In 2007, the federal “poverty line” was set at $16,530 for a family of three and $21,203 for a family of four (USCB) (Rasheed, 2013).” If a family makes less money a year than they can live on they are officially classified as poor (Rasheed, 2013). “According to the Census Bureau, about 12.3 percent of all Americans were living in poverty in 2006 (Rasheed, 2013).” That means there are 36 million people at or below poverty level in the United States (Rasheed, 2013).
Since poverty affects a wide array of people, poverty has evolved into a very complex issue. And even though the government has passed legislature to try to ameliorate the situation, many of these means-tested measures like food stamps, have only been able to help the surface of poverty and fails to rip out the long roots poverty has grown throughout history. Poverty’s deep effects are seen especially in minorities as they struggle much more to leave a current situation that has been created by historical process. Even though government assistance like food stamps do help alleviate some of poverty’s burden, these measures fail to recognize the reality that many of the impoverished minority have undervalued homes or no homes at all and even if they can rent, that rent can be high enough to take up more than fifty-percent of their paychecks. Overall, poverty in America is a vastly complicated issue rooted throughout history. And even though the government has attempted to pass legislature to help provide relief from poverty, America still has yet to provide measures that target the roots of poverty and until then, the government assistance it does provide will only be superficial and fail to provide long-term solutions to a complicated
The most significant dividing factor between people is money. Money divides cities into sections of wealthy areas and non-wealthy areas, money divides countries into social classes, and money divides the world into first-world countries and third-world countries. Lately, this divide has grown exponentially due, at least in part, to the increasing problem of poverty throughout the world. Poverty takes many forms and can be found in many places, and if the problem is not addressed and fixed, the world will be split into just two categories: the rich and the poor. Throughout the world, there are three different types of poverty; situational poverty, locational poverty, and relative poverty. Understanding and addressing theses types of poverty
The Federal Government defines poverty as income that falls below the United States Poverty threshold. (Begun 95). If a person is below or right at the poverty line they are considered poor. It also refers to the lowest level of income a person can make and afford the minimum necessities. (Bender and Leone 23). The poverty line was adopted by the government in the mid 1960's. Not included in the income figure are cash benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid.(Le Vert 50). The poverty rate is adjusted for different sexes, races, ages, and family structures. The government adjusts the poverty line each year according to the cost of living.
The documentary, Poor Us: An Animated History of Poverty, takes viewers through a detailed history of poverty on Earth. From hunter-gatherers to modern times, poverty in the world is demonstrated in the documentary. One can ask many questions while watching the documentary such as, “What is poverty?” and “Why does poverty exist today?” These questions are partially answered and speculated on in the documentary, although it may be hard to completely answer the questions as it can be argued that there is no one single answer. Poverty, according to the documentary, is the struggle to obtain resources in order to continue living. These resources are basic needs such as clean water, food, shelter and health care. The documentary, however, argues