Poverty in American Society Essay

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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 …show more content…
Census Bureau, 1999).
However, what truly defines poverty? Is it a lack of money, or lack of food or even lack of proper hygiene? Although these characteristics alone or combined can often define people living in poverty, the truth is that these are only perceptions. To live in poverty means that your income falls below the official poverty line for a given family size. In a broader sense, the living conditions of the poor are difficult to measure, both because annual cash income is only one factor related to living conditions, and because the poor are quite heterogeneous (Federman, Garner & Short, 1997). The perceptions or "myths" that the population has about poverty are distinguished by a "high degree of constancy" across generations and by an "equally pronounced capacity for evolution", adapting to changes in knowledge and social circumstance (Blumenburg, 1995 pp.34). Society buying into these myths and some impoverished adhering to the myths feed the fuel for society's beliefs and perceptions.
So why is there a need to change society's view of those living in poverty? The truth is that these perceptions and myths aren't just generalizations about the mass of impoverished because most of them "fit" the mold. While the belief is that the impoverished are homeless, the fact is that 48% own their own homes, compared to 78% of those not living in poverty. Typically, these home are three-bedroom houses with one-and-one-half baths. The average values
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