Poverty And Personal Choice Essay

1555 words - 6 pages

Do the poor in this country have a choice not to be poor? Do the less fortunate have the same access to opportunities as the middle and upper classes? Do government programs designed to help the impoverished actually keep them in the lower ranks? These are all difficult and controversial questions. Conservatives and Liberals constantly battle over these issues in our state and federal governments. Local and national news media provide limited insight to the root causes and effects of the nation’s poor. There is obviously no simple solution to resolve the plight of these often forgotten citizens. Most of us associate poor as being in a class below the poverty line. In fact there are many levels of poverty ranging from those with nothing, to those with enough to survive but too little to move up. I believe many of our nation’s poor are so by their own doing. I will share observations and personal experiences to support the argument that being poor often is a result of individual choice. One needs merely inspiration and perspiration to move up the socio-economic ladder in the United States. We live in the land of opportunity where anyone with the drive and determination to succeed often can.
Based on 2010 United States Census Bureau statistics, minorities living in inner cities with a high school diploma or lower education level have an average of one more child per household than their white, suburban, and college educated peers. The argument could be made that raising children carries a financial burden, so low income families deciding to have children would seem an unwise choice. So why does their population continue to grow knowing this? Based on additional demographic data provided by the 2010 United States Census Bureau, low income families have a higher tendency to be religious. Turning to recent news, religious organizations rejected Federal regulation requiring them to provide birth control to employees under the recent mandated health care bill. I feel safe to assume these families are also choosing not to use birth control. Again, this would seem to be an unwise personal choice considering the lack of family planning can and does result in unexpected pregnancies and births. Combine the staggering rate of divorce that leave many families with a single head of household, and it becomes clear the poor are contributing to their own problem. How does one who can barely afford their own living expense justify adding more burden to an already heavy load?
Growing up in a poor family from a low income neighborhood does place immediate challenges on our nation’s youth. Being born into this class is not the choice of the child, but they are none the less faced with an uphill battle. These children must compete in an environment that suburban and higher social class children often don’t. Lower income and poor neighborhood families face nutrition issues, sub-standard education, crime and pollution. All of which their...

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