Poverty is not limited to the poor countries as there are lot of people suffering in world wealthiest countries. In America, the level of poverty is still high in some of the households despite the economic growth. Poverty has historically been associated with levels of income though it can be looked based on complex deprivations on different dimensions. About 104 million Americans have annual incomes which are below the poverty line. This essay will analyze poverty in America.
Extreme poverty has been on decrease over the last three decades. At the moment, the number of people living below 1.25$ a day in the developed countries has dropped to 21% from 50% in 1981. High cases of extreme poverty are mainly found in the less developed countries. Apart from the sub-Saharan countries, the developed world such as the USA has seen a drop in extreme poverty.
As a social problem, the main factors of poverty are the level of ignorance, diseases, apathy, accountability and dependency. Ignorance occurs in a society when there is a lack of information. The community lacks the appropriate knowledge which can empower them hence enhancing poverty. When the community is affected by the disease, there is a low productivity leading to reduction in the wealth creation. There is also a high expenditure on drugs and hospital expenses contributing to poverty. Apathy is another key factor and occurs when people feel powerless in changing things. In addition, dishonesty such as corruption and fraud are also a major contributor to poverty. Lastly, dependency can contribute to the cycle of poverty. Some forms of charity weaken and encourage the recipient to be dependent hence disempowering the society.
The strong economic growth in the 1990s left some communities in America lagging behind in their economic status. Based on 2014 data, about 15% of the population was living below the poverty line. This is a population of about 46.7 million Americans. Also, a study done by UNICEF in 2015 showed that the United States had the second highest child poverty levels based on 35 industrialized nations. Poverty does not cover all American demographics equally. The census finding of 2014 showed that the black community had the lowest median income ranging at $35,398 compared to $60,256 of the white community. This was associated with policies which includes tax cuts for the wealthy and the public programs. In America, women are high likely to be poor than men and have higher poverty rates. Statistics in 2014 showed that 14.5% of the females in the USA were poor in comparison to only 10% of the male. At the moment, about 7% of the US population lives in deep poverty where the incomes are 50% of poverty thresholds. In addition, USDA 2014 data shows that 17 million Americans faced food insecurity due to resource shortages.
The main causes of poverty in America are low wage jobs which continue holding people in poverty. Also, lack of affordable education leads to poverty where a lot of people coming from the lower social class fail to afford education. This leads to low-paying jobs which slowly drives them to poverty. Moreover, medical expenses have been proved to lead to poverty in both rich and poor families. Diseases such as cancer are highly expensive to treat while some of the surgeries can cost millions of dollars. This may eventually lead a family to poverty. Unwed childbearing has been a major contributor to child poverty in America. This is especially when the unwed childbearing is concentrated in the low income families.
It is possible to reduce poverty in America using transformative economic and social policies. To get people out of poverty in America, the first step would be a provision of jobs that pay livable wages. The low wage jobs have made it hard for the working class to move out of poverty. By making the rich pay their fair share of tax and increasing the minimum wage, it will be a step towards poverty reduction. The country has to address the existing race and gender pay gaps as well as existing inequalities. The minorities face wealth disparities which can be addressed by the government.
Though it’s hard to fully eliminate poverty, a life without poverty is possible if the government implements policies which are able to transform everyone in the society. I believe that this will bring chronic inequality to end in the society. No one deserves to live a life of poverty hence the need for a fast action. I believe that poverty does not just arise but it is created. Poverty is a creation of an economic system which has a hoarding behaviour and power is concentrated. Without poverty, there will be low violence, diseases will be reduced, and there will be happiness.
To sum up, poverty in America exists despite the country economic status. Despite the reduction in extreme poverty, the country still lags in poverty eradication. The main causes of poverty are low-paying jobs, lack of education, medical expenses and unwed childbearing. It is possible to reduce poverty in America through the use of economic and social policies which are transformative. In fact, it is possible to have a life where poverty is minimal.