Saturday :: Feb 24, 2007

Poverty In America


by soccerdad

*Update*
I inadvertently made a mistake. It should read that 15.9million live in severe poverty.
McClatchy News has an excellent report on poverty. In the table below are the thresholds for the designation of Poverty and extreme poverty in the US. In 2005, there were 15.9 million people living in severe poverty of which 1.9 million were children under the age 0f 5.

Family Size Poverty Threshold Extreme Poverty Threshold
1 $10,488 $5,244
3 (1 child) $13,843 $6,922
4 (2 Children) $20,444 $10,222
The percentage of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty has reached a 32-year high, millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line and the gulf between the nation's "haves" and "have-nots" continues to widen.

[snip]

The McClatchy analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005. That's 56 percent faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period. McClatchy's review also found statistically significant increases in the percentage of the population in severe poverty in 65 of 215 large U.S. counties, and similar increases in 28 states. The review also suggested that the rise in severely poor residents isn't confined to large urban counties but extends to suburban and rural areas.

But what are the reasons?
The plight of the severely poor is a distressing sidebar to an unusual economic expansion. Worker productivity has increased dramatically since the brief recession of 2001, but wages and job growth have lagged behind. At the same time, the share of national income going to corporate profits has dwarfed the amount going to wages and salaries. That helps explain why the median household income of working-age families, adjusted for inflation, has fallen for five straight years.
These and other factors have helped push 43 percent of the nation's 37 million poor people into deep poverty - the highest rate since at least 1975.

And no they are not illegals.
Nearly two out of three people (10.3 million) in severe poverty are white, but blacks (4.3 million) and Hispanics of any race (3.7 million) make up disproportionate shares. Blacks are nearly three times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be in deep poverty, while Hispanics are roughly twice as likely.

What are some of the ramifications? From the American Journal of Preventative Medicine
A rise in poverty rates is important because of the enormous difficulties faced by the poor in meeting the most basic human needs (e.g., food security, clothing, housing, health) and in obtaining the means to escape their conditions (e.g., education, jobs, higher earnings). This suffering alone is sufficient cause for concern among those who advocate social justice, but rising poverty rates are also relevant to those who reject a moral duty to help the poor. The global competitiveness of the U.S. economy suffers if workers are too poor to obtain an education and modern job skills, the government loses tax revenue and spends more on public assistance because of poverty, and communities fall victim to urban decay, crime, and unrest

This is not the America I want to live in.

soccerdad :: 7:49 AM :: Comments (35) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!