Poverty is different in different parts of the world and to different people. It is defined as being unable to afford a minimum standard of living. The progress in eradicating poverty has slowed down despite recent years of economic recovery. Poverty is perhaps the most persisting problem today.
The nation’s largely uncounted homeless population, unemployed Americans looking for work, low-wage service industry workers, single parents working multiple jobs, for millions Americans, poverty is a daily struggle which results in deprivation.
The U.S. government by calculating a threshold income level determines who lives in poverty. If anyone is found not meeting that threshold is said to live below the poverty line. Poverty thresholds greatly depend on the size of the family.
A family of four (two adults and two children) is considered to be living in poverty if it has an annual household income (pre-tax) of $24,858 or lower. The annual income poverty threshold for any individual is $12,488.
A variety of alternative methods of calculating poverty-level incomes were proposed. It includes the government’s 2011 project of the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which includes resources received through non-cash government assistance programs; food, clothing, shelter; income after tax payments and credits; work expenses and medical expenses; and child support payments.
If we want to deal with the problem of poverty in a better way, first we need to understand its causes. The causes of poverty can generally be divided into individual factors: such as certain behaviors and life choices, as well as structural factors beyond the control of individuals, such as the economy. There exist a long debate about whether personal or external factors are the main reason Americans live in poverty today.
As there are uncountable examples of Americans overcoming the disadvantages that often lead to poverty, we should not blindly ignore the role that certain attitudes and life choices play in the probability of an individual entering or staying in poverty.
According to a recent survey on intergenerational mobility, the percentage of children who earn more than their parents is down from approximately 90 percent of children born in 1940 to roughly 50 percent of children born in the 1980s.
When segregation and disparities are minimal, when the school system is of higher quality, young people are motivated to get an education, upward mobility will now be easily achievable.
A rapid drop in health benefits, lowweight pregnancies, less preventive medical visits, school absences, repeated movements and school transfers, higher exposure to violence and substance use, work layoffs, financial hardship, and many other variables have become very common in low-income communities which contribute to worse outcomes for school children and adults who may be trying hard to improve their standards of living.
Nearly for most Americans, wages are their only source of income, and employment is the only way to escape poverty.
It is not always a matter of choice to find work. Employment acquisition relies heavily on local economic variables. An anti-poverty vehicle can serve as the labor market. In tight labor markets , for example, although not always advantageous for business owners who may want to replace workers more easily, lower-wage individuals often get hikes and more hours of work. The nationwide poverty rate has declined as the U.S. labor market has intensified.