3_13 - Poverty in the United States Overview Social...

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Unformatted text preview: Poverty in the United States Overview Social Mobility Understanding Poverty Myths About the Poor Theoretical Perspectives on Poverty Life Chances and Social Mobility Social Mobility Movement within a system of stratification Open Systems of Stratification: Positions mainly influenced by achieved statuses Encourages competition among members of society Present little or no possibility of social mobility Positions mainly influenced by ascribed statuses Closed Systems of Stratification: Understanding Poverty Measuring Poverty Absolute poverty: standard by which a minimum level of subsistence is determined and those living below that level are defined as poor Relative poverty: standard by which people are defined as poor in comparison to others Understanding Poverty Measuring Poverty In the United States we have a poverty line Income level that represents a minimally acceptable standard of living This is an absolute measure of poverty Defining Poverty The Official U.S. Definition The official poverty line is primarily based upon two factors: Family size Ages of family members Referred to as poverty thresholds Understanding Poverty Measuring Poverty The poverty thresholds are based on a "market basket of goods" Thresholds are pegged to inflation (CPI) Geographic differences in cost of living Noncash transfer payments Thresholds do not adjust for... Understanding Poverty Myths About the Poor Myth 1: Most poor people are lazy and don't want to work Fact: The majority of working age (1864) poor are employed Half of the poor are not of working age ~40% under 18 years ~10% over the age of 65 Understanding Poverty Myths About the Poor Myth 2: Poor people are trapped in a cycle of poverty that few escape Facts: The poverty population is dynamic Most poverty occurs in spells of < 1 year A small minority (~10%) of the poor remain in poverty for 5 or more consecutive years Understanding Poverty Myths About the Poor Myth 3: Most of the poor are black and Hispanic Facts: Poverty rates are higher among blacks and Hispanics, but most of the poor are white Of the 38 million poor in 2000: 56% White; 21% Black; 19% Hispanic Understanding Poverty Myths About the Poor Myth 4: Most of the poor are single mothers and their children Facts: About 38% of the poor are single moms and their children 34% live in married couple families Remainder in other living arrangements Understanding Poverty Myths About the Poor Myth 5: Poor people just live on welfare Facts: Has never been true, and is increasingly less so Most poor people do not receive welfare Wage and salary income constitutes the majority of income among the poor Myths About Poverty in America Myth 6: Most of the poor live in the inner city Facts: Poverty isn't only an urban problem Most of the poor live outside the inner city Poverty rates are consistently higher in rural areas Perspectives on Poverty The Functionalist Perspective Poverty persists because it provides a positive function for society Provides pool of lowwage labor Creates jobs Labeling the poor as deviant helps to uphold values of thrift and hard work Guarantees hierarchy of unequal rewards Perspectives on Poverty The Conflict Perspective Poverty is the product of conflict between groups over wealth and power Capitalists benefit from having a pool of lowwage labor Poverty helps maintain "false consciousness" among the proletariat ...
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