Essay about Poverty in the United States

1405 WordsOct 31, 20086 Pages
POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES Poverty in the United States today has many faces. There’s the pleading face of a middle-aged man on a city street holding up a sign that says “Hungry, Need Help.” There’s the anxious face of a young child in a schoolroom somewhere, whose only real meal today will be a free school lunch. There’s the sad face of a single mother who doesn’t have enough money to buy clothes for her children. And there’s the frustrated face of a young man working at a minimum-wage job who can't afford to pay his rent. The federal government measures poverty by the numbers. 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). If a family makes less than those…show more content…
Poverty is also worse among African Americans and Hispanic Americans. In 2005, 24.3 percent of African Americans lived in poverty, as did 20.6 percent of Hispanic Americans. The poverty rate was 10.3 percent for Asian Americans and 8.2 percent for non-Hispanic whites. Poverty is also more prevalent in some parts of the country than in others. In 2006, 13.8 percent of people in the South were living in poverty, compared with 11.6 percent for both the Northeast and the Midwest and 11.2 percent for the West (USCB) . Pockets of extreme poverty are also scattered in U.S. cities. According to a recent study by the Brookings Institution, the city with the most concentrated poor population is Fresno, California; followed by New Orleans, even before hurricane Katrina hit; Miami, and Atlanta. But why are so many people in the United States of America stuck in poverty? The answers, like the problem, are complex. Some speak of a “culture of poverty” that keeps people from working their way out of poverty because they have come to see it as a way of life. Others speak about a growing technology gap, with higher-paying jobs going to computer-smart, educated workers and leaving others out. Still others say that racism and prejudice are strong factors in keeping minorities poor (Myers). One factor in the poverty story that nearly everyone can agree on is the increase in the working poor. For centuries, poverty has been mainly an

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