According to the United States Census Bureau released in 2012, the poverty rate had reached 30%, and it was described as the highest ever in the country’s history. Deriving from the census statistics, many Americans are struggling to survive and afford basic necessities as a result of social and economic problems. As a matter of fact, financial analysts are predicting tough times ahead, thereby calling for the development of innovative solutions to curb the increasing poverty rates. In the American society, in terms of class, race and culture of poverty, data shows that in Chicago blacks are the poorest 50.7%, Latinos 36%, Asians 20.2% and whites 13.5% (Class notes).
The issue of poverty problems facing America is an amalgamation of various short and long-range tribulations. For instance, after the Hurricane catastrophe, various problems occurred such as homelessness, economic crisis, health crisis, and loss of family due to evacuation and relocation. The U. S. believes in the principle of equality of opportunities for every citizen and immigrants on equal measure. In spite of this, America continues to grapple with high rates of unemployment, and inequality in the distribution of income, thus making poverty a critical problem. Additionally, the issue of race, class, education and workplace continues to be a significant challenge in addressing poverty.
There are three kinds of barriers affecting America and making it a challenge to address the ever-growing poverty gap
As a result of high immigration rates to America, stereotyping and racial discrimination has been visibly evident in all spheres of life and the economy. For instance, a research conducted on African Americans and Latinos showed that Black Americans were more likely to have more employment opportunities if there were fewer immigrants.
Poverty in America has been linked to a myriad of factors such as too much welfare that prevents initiative, lack of job and education opportunities and a lack of work ethics. Other factors include lack of government funding, drugs and racial discrimination. The issue of racial discrimination has made it challenging to tackle poverty. For instance, during the mid-1960’s, America experienced massive revolutions by the blacks engineered by Martin Luther King since their human rights were violated. Race and economic equality was exemplified by Luther King who saw no pride of sitting at a lunch counter and not afford a hamburger. In the 2012 census, the highest rates of poverty by race was found among the black population 28%, Hispanic 27.4%, Asian 16%, and whites 9.9% (Class notes).
The lack of education and equal work opportunities has also been an indicator associated with fighting poverty. Numerous research studies on the education status in America have revealed that college education is an expensive affair. Since most of the population is struggling to make ends meet by paying their bills, they find it difficult to make any savings for a college degree. The result is that most of them end up only with a high school education and do not proceed to college. Therefore, the lack of further education makes it difficult for poor people to seek and find better-paying jobs; thus enhancing the cycle of poverty (Bellafante n.p.).
The government in itself has generated its own glass ceiling in tackling the issue of poverty. As a result of high levels of immigrants, the government has been unable to develop efficient monitoring systems and collect data of its citizens and other immigrants. According to Barbara & Ehrenreich (n.p.), this has made it exceptionally difficult to fight poverty levels because of inadequate information.
The issue of the class levels has also played a significant role in addressing poverty in the American society. Barbara & Ehrenreich (n.p.) use the notion of 1% and 99% while describing the issue of class and poverty in America. When discussing the issue of class, they argue that children of the middle and upper class tend to have stronger ties unlike those of the lower class. This is because they share school, neighborhoods and social activities. Furthermore, the Ehrenreichs opine that the middle class are so vulnerable during periods of economic downturns because they lack enough savings and backup to continue living a healthy life.
Manatsios explains four myths while discussing the issue of poverty. He argues that poor people have low work ethics, are unmotivated to work, and are stereotyped as lazy. Another myth is that poor parents do not involve themselves in their children’s learning because they do not value education. Poor people have also been termed as linguistically insufficient, and they tend to abuse drugs and alcohol. However, most of these myths have nee disputed since poverty levels affect all people at different measures. In addition, research has shown that poor people have the potential to become rich if given the right opportunities (Mantsios n.p).
- Ehrenreich, Barbara, & John Ehrenreich. The making of American 99%. 15 December 2011. Web. 5 November 2013.
- Bellafante, Ginia. Before a test. Poverty of words. 5 October 2012. Web. 5 November 2013.
- Mantsios Gregory. “Class in America: Myths and Realities” 31 October 2003. Web 05 November. 2013. Class notes pdf.