Poverty is defined as a lack of money, goods, or resources needed to survive. Poverty is not only confined the United States; it is an issue found all over the world. Actually, when you think about the United States, you think of it as a high-income country. It is a country filled with opportunities, jobs, and freedom. So why is poverty an issue in the United States? As Rank (2004) discusses, the real issue is how our society deals with poverty. People seem to be numb to it. They see homeless people on the street, and they walk right past them as if no one is there. As a high-income country, we have the resources to help those in need, yet our political leaders don’t do as much as they can. Or, as O’Connor (2001) explains, some political leaders
People in America often suffer from poverty and the treatment that comes with it, throughout their everyday lives. The question raised is why are poor individuals dehumanized by high structures of power? Some people with a higher income feel like they have a choice and a real recourse to justice rather than a lower class individual. They also believe that they are entitled to the world and their opinion matters because of their financial status versus someone who doesn’t have material things. Lessin’s and Deal’s film , Natasha Trethewey’s Memoir, and Bell Hooks’ excerpts, depicts that the poor are often dehumanized and neglected by structures of power, such as the government and media, because of their lack of money and education, however some of structures of power are ignorant to how the lives of poor people really are.
There is a diversity of faces and voices that define people that are currently living in poverty. If you seen them on the street would you know them? Who are these unfortunate people? Do you think you could point them out? Where do they come from? While some impoverished people are apparent -many are hidden and walk amongst us everyday, fighting to survive, playing the societal game, and hoping to rise up and leave behind a life of poverty and despair. The impoverished is made up of people from all aspects of life with differences in age, race, color, and ethnicity. This group also includes fallen power elitists; impoverished by greed or over consumption of addiction. The issues of poverty and homelessness go hand and hand. The two are so closely intertwined that we often fail to see that they are in reality one problem, and that the homeless, excluding the handicapped, the aged, and the mentally ill, is merely the most severe expression of it. Charity and handouts do not solve the problems, although they often soften the blow. The impoverished continue to fight their battle to survive, and hope, and pray that the next day will be better then the last.
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.
Many reforms in the UnitedStates have been passed to help fight against the “War on Poverty”; but it has not been effective in eradicating poverty in the U.S. There are about 46 million people who are living in impoverished conditions and poverty continues to be a social issue in this country (Heritage Foundation, 2011) In the beginning, our country was formed under the belief that “this land is the land of opportunity and if we worked hard enough the American Dream can be gained” (Schwarz, 1997). People immigrate to this country today in hopes of becoming rich so they could gain a better life. In spite of coming to this country for a better life, many are faced with the lack of skills and money to succeed. In the end, most will end up in unskilled labor jobs that can barely support their families. Poverty continues to be a growing social issue because people have the “ inability to provide necessities like clothes, healthcare, and shelter” (Heritage Foundation, 2011) to help themselves and their family; therefore, many sacrifices have to be made to insure their survival. Yet many reforms made to help people living in poverty are based “off of outdated statistics” (Henslin, 2014, p.276) and are not enough to help the lower class maintain a sufficient standard of living. Poverty relates to conflict theory since the poor are struggling just to get by. Government programs such as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance, and food stamps provided by the government are not enough to help the poor gain social mobility.
The United States defines poverty for a family of four as being less than $16,036 per year, or $4,009 per person (Leone 12). People find themselves under this line for an innumerable amount of reasons. Some of these causes are under one's control and others are greater factors beyond an individual's power. Each family or individual person has unique and separate reasons for living in a state poverty. There is no way to try and define them all. Focusing in, three main topics arise that encompass the most predominant reasons for a person to fall into poverty. Education, family life and influence, along with the business cycle may work individually or together to cause poverty. These three leading causes are presented and discussed along with facts prevalent to the issue in the section below.
Poverty is a prevalent issue that many Americans face and it has been a serious problem over centuries. Every year there are people at risk of hunger. Combating poverty is not an easy task; there are many underlying issues that need to be addressed. Fortunately there are policies in place to assist with in decreasing the negative effects of poverty; however, some of the policies may cause people to become more dependent on government assistance. As a result it may cause a rise in taxes to support these policies and programs. Poverty is very common and widespread around the world. Unanswered questions that arise in regards to poverty are what can be done to resolve it, what are the causes of poverty, and is it possible to eliminate poverty entirely. Based on research and my personal experiences, government aid and housing are some resolutions to decrease poverty.
Several citizens in America may not empathize with many social conflicts which transpire in America. Unfortunately, when poverty is mentioned people of diverse gender, race/ethnic, and age can relate to poverty in America. Although several societies have not experienced the undesirable measures of relative or absolute poverty; several people know poverty exist through many channels, such as the media, social networking, history and charities.
As reported on google images “Poverty” is represented by starving children in third world countries, people living among trash, hunger, sadness and even death. These images are meant to evoke emotion in people but in reality all they do is numb the general public to the truth. American poverty though, is represented differently on google images. When American poverty is shown there are images of run-down cities, statistics and graphs. The images provided do not show any general representation of poverty in America. In fact these images even dehumanize American poverty by showing graphs and statistics rather than the people affected by poverty. Among America’s poor lie victims of the unjust criminal system. Although America is considered to
As stated by Franklin D. Roosevelt, “the test of our progression is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” Many people may agree with this statement considering that the United States is such a wealthy country and in 2012, 46.5 million people were living in poverty in the United States and 15% of all Americans and 21.8% of children under age eighteen were in poverty.The honest truth is that many people do not know the conditions this group of people must live in on a daily basis because of the small number of people who realize the struggle there is not a great amount of service. In the article Too stressed for Success, the author Kevin Clarke asks the question “What is the cost of being poor in America?” and follows the question by explaining the great deals of problems the community of poverty goes through daily by saying, “Researchers have long known that because of a broad reduction in retail and other consumer choices experienced by America's poor, it is often simply more expensive to be poor in the United States.
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).
In conclusion, Poverty is drastically affecting the economy of America. It hits the children, the
There are so many personal and social problems across the United States but the one main problem in America is people who are in Poverty. Poverty is a common social and personal issue that has troubled us throughout the years. While nations like the United States of America have worked really hard to maintain their living stability by working in average salary or even having to work in a minimum wage job. The homelessness is not new to our nation and it has increase over years.
How would you feel if you didn’t have a place to call home? Some states have higher poverty rates than others such as California. Almost half of the world over 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day. People don’t look into poverty because they’re usually not the one who’s struggling in life. Even though there are other important issues, the government should provide more money and attention to the less fortunate because it will overall benefit the country and help ignorant citizens to realize that people make mistakes sometimes and they need help to get back on their feet.