Poverty In America Essay

1763 words - 7 pages

Everyone knows what the word poverty means. It means poor, unable to buy the necessities to survive in today's world. We do not realize how easy it is for a person to fall into poverty: A lost job, a sudden illness, a death in the family or the endless cycle of being born into poverty and not knowing how to overcome it. There are so many children in poverty and a family's structure can effect the outcome. Most of the people who are at the poverty level need some type of help to overcome the obstacles. There are mane issues that deal with poverty and many things that can be done to stop it.
The Federal Government defines poverty as income that falls below the United States Poverty threshold. (Begun 95). If a person is below or right at the poverty line they are considered poor. It also refers to the lowest level of income a person can make and afford the minimum necessities. (Bender and Leone 23). The poverty line was adopted by the government in the mid 1960's. Not included in the income figure are cash benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid.(Le Vert 50). The poverty rate is adjusted for different sexes, races, ages, and family structures. The government adjusts the poverty line each year according to the cost of living.
In America, poverty has been on the rise since the 1970's.(Poverty World Book 723). The family structure has been constantly changing. The presence of a father in the family effects the poverty rate. The presence of a father in the family was higher when the poverty rate was formed. The family is four times more likely not to have a father in it today than it was in the 1950's. (Report Ties 3). Without a father in the family the chance for children to become poor and eventually drop out of school is greater.
In 1929 an event happened called the Great Depression. This made the poverty go up. In 1935 the government started the Social Security Act which gave workers benefits if they were fired or forced to quit their job. It also gave benefits to disabled workers.(Cooper 978
In the 1990's America saw more poverty than ever before. The increase in the manufacturing business helped by creating more jobs for workers. These workers then received benefits from working.(Cooper 981).
The lowest level of poverty was recorded in 1973 with only 11.1 percent of America living at or below the poverty line. In America at that time there were twenty-three million people falling into this category. Today there are still about thirty-six million people considered poor. This is almost fourteen percent of the population. The big cities saw a bigger decline also.
Nebraska was one of thirteen states in 1995 that had poverty rates below ten percent. The majority of the nation except Hawaii and Idaho, had falling poverty rates. The United States as a whole had a poverty rate of about 13.8 percent in 1995.(Poverty Rates 8). There are four types of poverty.
The four main types of poverty are...

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