Native American Poverty : A Social Problem

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Abstract Native American poverty is a social problem in the United States. For historic, political, sociocultural, and economic reasons, this issue affects not only those impoverished but American society as a whole. The most impoverished Native American communities are frequently within the boundaries of reservations. The rates of unemployment, low wages, and infant mortality are among the highest in the country on several reservations. Disease, mental illness, alcoholism, and fetal alcohol syndrome are also prevalent within the Native American population. To improve these conditions, strategies should be put into place to build stable economies in the otherwise isolated reservations. Native American Poverty in the Current Socioeconomic Climate Poverty Definition To many Americans, poverty is merely a synonym for ‘not rich’. Even those who understand the definition may struggle with the concept that poverty is not a distant, foreign, concern; poverty can occur in any country, region, neighborhood, and household. In a study performed by Carroll et al, 60% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “poor people are poor because of laziness and lack of will power (2011, p. 116). In the same questionnaire, 77% of respondents felt most poor people have the ability to escape poverty without government assistance (Carroll et al, 2011, p. 117). As above facts show, despite the widespread nature of this issue those not living in poverty often have
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