According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 estimates, the official poverty rate is 12.3 percent, an estimated 39.7 million Americans lived in poverty according to the official measure. Poor are those who can’t afford the basic needs because they earn less than half of the nation’s median income. Fortunately, we don’t have starvation in America, but we do have an amount of poverty that leads to malnutrition and diseases. There are many reasons and causes for poverty in America such as 1) Lack of opportunity, many businesses ship their factories to China to save money which affected the economy and less job opportunity for the workers in the US. 2) Lack of affordable housing, mortgage or rent takes a huge amount of the family’s paycheck. According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, “families across the country would need to earn a ‘housing wage’ of $15.37 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the average fair market rent”. 3) Substance Abuse, addiction either alcohol or drugs affects about 20% of the homeless population. Adductors spend a lot of money on drugs and alcohol. They also lose the opportunity to find jobs and high medical expenses for illness. 4) Lack of Education, many people cannot afford to attend college and the only jobs they can get are low paying and they must support themselves and their family. 5) Jobs denied because of race, gender, or some other form of discrimination. and 6) Undocumented workers, face limited employment options and their families are thus more likely to be poor. Even though people work multiple jobs, they remain stuck in poverty. This is caused by lack of power to change the systems, and policies that keep creating poverty.
Steps that can be taken to reduce the poverty rate in the U.S.; provide jobs opportunities for all occupations, invest money in education, raise the minimum wage, strengthening existing programs like unemployment insurance, food stamps, and cash assistance, challenge segregation and poverty, immigration reform, and end the poverty tax.
Haveman, Robert. “Causes of Poverty”. Institute for Research on Poverty. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013. www.irp.wisc.edu/newsevents/workshops/teachingpoverty101/participants/Presentations/Haveman-CausesofPoverty1.pdf (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
“Causes of Poverty in America.” pursueGOD. www.pursuegod.org/causes-of-poverty-in-america/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
There are many reasons why poverty exists for example on an individual basic the lack of education, skill and their experiences, mental and physical handicaps, discrimination against sex and race, overpopulation, epidemic diseases such as AIDS and malaria, high divorce rates and environmental problems. In the United Stated the leading cause of poverty is unemployment. 71% of families in 1999 and 2005 were below the poverty line because they didn’t have any working family members. But families that were below the poverty line even if they had one family member still working there pay was low and they weren’t given sufficient benefits which is a leading cause. When the social security program came out in California the poverty in elderly people was reduced. As of 2010 9% of the united States poverty rate is among seniors. Back in 1960 the poverty rate for the elderly was at a high of 35%. So we are making strides in improving that. They also say that extreme poverty might have something to do with lifespan. There is also to believe there is at least two approaches to explain poverty which are case and generic theories. “The case approach says that individual theories (or cases) of poverty make up the aggregate (or total) reasons for societal poverty. The generic theory of poverty, however, maintains that systemwide societal problems, such as low national income, cause individual cases of poverty.” The case theory believes in addressing poverty one individual at a time for example, if the issue is lack of education or skill then the solution would be to better educate individuals in poverty. The Generic theory believes in addressing poverty by looking at the whole issue. The generic theory, however, wants to focus on the bigger issue by improving the quantity and quality of jobs. For the scholars that prefer the generic approach they are saying that there isn’t enough jobs opportunities for a livable wage and the fact that a country has a low national income. So in summary the main cause of poverty in the United States is that of unemployment and there is not a lot of jobs that offer livable wages and benefits. To help reduce the poverty rate people would have to get a high education and develop more skills in order to get a job that will offer livable wages and benefits.