Poverty in America

Poverty in America

Some studies contend that poverty is not a major issue in the United States, but their studies seem to be misleading. Pressman (2011) explains why poverty is affecting most Americans despite the country having so much wealth that other countries depend on them. In the article entitled, How Poor is America’s poor 2011 Steven Pressman presented his great thoughts on the economic crisis affecting American families. The purpose of this article was to highlight how poverty in America continues to increase at a high rate. Pressman (2011, p109) approximates that 14.3% of the American population in 2009 lived in poverty. Undoubtedly, the number is expected to be much higher in the future. With this in mind, Pressman considers this as a severe problem for Americans. As a matter of concern, statistics reveal that the poverty rate for young children was higher than any of the other population (Pressman 2011, p109). With this in mind, this research regard this as a major problem in that child poverty decreases cognitive ability along with educational attainment and lack of access to health care.

In a different article, Rivero (2013, p54) affirm that when survey outlines Americans as poor, most people fail to understand the concept based on the U.S. description of poverty. An individual earning under $10, 000 would be regarded as poor based on the U.S standard of living. However, the same person would be regarded as rich or in the middle class in the first world countries where the definition of poverty is much different than that of the United States. It is part of human nature that most people aspire to be like others living in the middle class standard or above. With this, low-income families struggle to live in the middle-class lifestyle and desire to own various household items such as computer, oven, microwave, TV, and a car. This has been the case in the United States where most low –income families struggle to fit in the middle class lifestyle. Although most people own the mentioned household items, Rivero (2013)  argues that most people are living below or above the poverty line. It is difficult to believe that some people are living on $1000 a month and yet they own most goods such as a car. With this in mind, Rivero’s article affirms that most Americans spend more of their income on expenses than on investments and savings. This research continues to affirm that, it is no wonder that many households are fearful to face the future since they may not have adequate resources to take care of their families. However, this article presents a solution to eradicate poverty in the United States. First, this article outline that it would be beneficial if people lived below their income. In other words, a person with low income would be comfortable without a car that would demand repairs in a month. This article notes that most poor families spend their income goes to nonessentials necessities such as video rentals, cable TV, and cars among others.

A research by Kaufman (2012, p511) indicates that, although Americans live like queens and kings, many are counted as poor since they live in very difficult circumstances that many would consider as poverty. With this in mind, most people are living in debts to maintain a middle-class lifestyle. With loans being readily available in the modern world, most Americans take this as an opportunity to borrow loans to maintain a certain standard of living. Although many may be living a pleasant lifestyle, the truth of the matter is that debts come with interest, which in turn decreases the money available for necessities such as shelter, clothing, and food. Kaufaman’s research estimates that more than 3 million Americans are poor because of the interest they pay on their goods and services. His article highlights that the solution for poverty would be handling money wisely.

Although many would blame the poor for incurring much debt and not being wise to handle their money, much of the poverty problems stem on various issues such as low wages and unemployment (Pearson, Nyonna & Kim 2012, p140). This research indicates that, there are over 30% of Americans who are unemployed for a year or more. In the United States, the unemployment rate has been a focal point of the discussion. Although in 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics highlighted that 8.4% unemployment rate in the United States, the figure only shows people between the age 16 years and above (Pearson, Nyonna & Kim 2012, p142). With this in mind, there is a segment of workers un-presented in the total percentage of unemployment rate indicated. The segment includes younger workers between the age 24 years and above mostly supporting their families. As the unemployment rate continues to increase at a high rate, it creates a big concern for many people are living below the poverty line. The purpose of the Pearson, Nyonna & Kim’s article is to outline how the unemployment rate affects younger workers to the extent that most households live below the poverty line. With this concern, this article beseeches the American government to improve sustainability among young employees who are often the breadwinners. Although the issue of unemployment has been ignored for quite a long time, this article creates great insights on how high unemployment rate continues to increase poverty in America. With this in mind, the American government should establish the need to create employment for young people, which would be a great deal to eradicate poverty.

The plunge of the American economic crisis from 2000 to 2013 brought with it debate on the cause of its severity (Kaufman 2012, p 501). In his article, Kaufman affirm that the American government is to blame for the economic crisis in that it extends health care coverage, unemployment benefits, and high minimum wage. With this in mind, it is evident that the American government is ignoring the fact that most Americans are unemployed and some living below the poverty line because of high standards of living. This article continues to argue that, young workers are forced to pay taxes to meet the proposed health care and unemployment benefits of their fellow citizens. Despite having a monthly income, most young workers are struggling to invest and maintain their families.  Typically, this article affirm that unemployment rate is the major cause of poverty. Although many receive unemployment benefits despite working, most Americans are suffering in silence trying to survive in the stiff economy. Due to the high standards of livings, young workers may find themselves among the people ranks as poor. Most become optimistic, hoping that things will change for better and instead change for the worse. As a result, most people deplete any saving they might have accumulated over the past years and still resorts to debts and borrowing.

Children represent the large percentage of population living in the United States (Moreno 2007, p83). The poverty rate varies according to race and origin as indicated in the table below.

Children under 18 years living in poverty as per 2010

Category Number (Thousands) Percentage
Population of children under 18 years 16, 401 22
Non Hispanic and white only 5, 002 12.4
Black 4, 817 38.2
Asian 547 13.6
Hispanic 6, 110 35.0

Retrieved from http://www.npc.umich.edu/poverty/ SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010, Report P60, n. 238, Table B-2, pp. 68-73.

As indicated in the table, there is a major concern on the number of Hispanic, blacks, and Asian population in the United States living in poverty line. Although the number represents the population of children under the age 18 years, the truth of the matter the entire population of the mentioned races and regions are subject to poverty. While the white population are living above middle class lifestyle, other races especially the blacks and Hispanic have been subject to poverty. The research by the U.S Bureau of the Census indicate that blacks and Hispanic are the most population living below the poverty line (Moreno 2007, p85). The case is so severe that most cannot afford the basic necessitates such as food, clothing, and shelter. With the high cost of living in the United States, poverty has been a major concern among blacks and Hispanic communities. With this in mind, Moreno’s article creates the need for the American government to equally offer employment to all regions, communities, and races. In so doing, the blacks, Asians, and Hispanic who are most affected by poverty would have the privilege to live in the middle class.


Thus, this research has outlined how poverty is a major problem in the United States. Based on the five researchers from different articles, it is evident that some Americans are living below the poverty line. As the unemployment rate continues to increase at a high rate, poverty continues to affect most Americans. Most Americans are living in debts to sustain a middle-class lifestyle. As a result, this increases poverty line in that loans require some amount of interest, which may cost the debtor. Although many people regard the United States as among the wealthiest country, most Americans are living in poverty because of high standard of living. Many are struggling to make ends meet while still paying some taxes to pay for health care coverage. With this in mind, Kaufman (2012, p510) argues that the American government should diligently work to ensure that there are adequate job opportunities to cater and meet the needs of the nation and on an individual basis. Still, the government should equally distribute employment to all communities such as Asians, blacks, and Hispanics who are mostly affected by poverty in the United States. In so doing, the United States would be in a better position to respond and deter poverty, which is mostly affecting Americans. Although most Americans are living in the middle class, many are struggling to make the ends meet because of the high cost of living.



Kaufman, B. E. (2012). Wage Theory, New Deal Labour Policy, And The Great Depression: Were Government And Unions To Blame? Industrial & Labour Relations Review65(3), 501-532.

Moreno, L. (2007). Extending financial services to Latin America’s poor.Mckinsey Quarterly, 83-91.

Pearson, D., Nyonna, D., & Kim, K. (2012). The Relationship between Economic Freedom, State Growth and Foreign Direct Investment in US States. International Journal Of Economics & Finance4 (10), 140-146. doi:10.5539/ijef.v4n10p140

Pressman, S. (2011). How Poor Are America’s Poor?. Challenge (05775132)54 (2), 109-121. doi:10.2753/0577-5132540205

Rivero, O. (2013). US Unemployment Among Younger Adults And Recommendations To Improve Employment Sustainability. Journal Of Business & Economics Research11 (1), 53-58.





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