CULF2321 Dr. Swearingen Chapter 7: Poverty Poverty and Welfare Why is the government official poverty line of limited value in figuring out exactly how many poor people we have in the USA? How do the problems with this poverty line hide the actual extent of poverty? Because the official poverty line is based on the minimal amount of money required for a subsistence level of life. The Social Security Administration computed the cost of a basic nutritionally adequate diet and multiplied that figure by three to determine the poverty line. This multiplier is based on a government research results in which they conclude that poor people spent one-third of their income on food. Therefore, the official poverty line is arbitrary and minimizes the extent of poverty in the U.S because the government measure does not keep up with the inflation. In which the housing costs take up a larger portion of the poor family budget than food. Moreover, the government measure ignores differences in health insurance coverage and medical care needs of individual families. Also, a “one-size-fits-all” standard is not an adequate measure of poverty because there is a wide variation in the cost of living by location. Read over the Extent of Poverty section, and look at table 7.1 . What factors cause more poverty and which factors cause less? Use info from the text and table to illustrate. I think race is one of the major factors that cause more poverty because the percentage of non- white poor people is significantly much higher than white. For example, in 2010, the percentage
of Black in poverty is 27.4 and Hispanic is 26.6; whereas the percentage of White is 9.9.According to the book, “ Income in the United States is unequally distributed by race”(158). In addition, gender is one of the major factors in which women are more likely than men to be in poverty. As the authors point out that older women and women of color are the most one affected by poverty which makes the issue is not related to gender only but to class and race. Furthermore, the age category that is at greatest risk of poverty is children who are under 18. On the other hands, one of the factors that caused less poverty is nativity. Thus, poverty affects mostly those people who are either African Americans, Hispanics, children, and women, especially female heads of families. What is the overall effect of all this on poverty in the United States compared to poverty in other countries like the US? By comparing the United States to other countries we would find that there is much more poverty in the United States than in its Western counterparts. The highest rate of poverty is in the U.S. because other nations have higher minimum wages and stronger labor unions than the United States has. According to the book, “the main increase in the number of poor since 1979 has been among the working poor”(164). Also, these other nations spend a much greater proportion of their entire domestic outcomes on social investments, which make it possible for poor people to get out from poverty, than does the United States. The United States, in
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- Spring '08
- Poverty, Poverty in the United States, poor people, Conditional Cash Transfer