27 October 2018
Poverty: Why We Should Be Informed
Americans first witnessed poverty on a grand scale during the Great Depression. However, some people fail to realize that poverty is still with us today. Today, too many young Americans have become a been a victim of poverty, or have witnessed people left out on the street, or have known someone struggling to find a simple meal. Additionally, African Americans experience poverty at a proportionately higher rate than Non-Latino Whites. It is clear that while poverty is a major issue still today, it has not been a great enough influencer in today’s society since people are not taking initiative to the cause.
Our world claims to be a safe environment but poverty is everywhere on this earth, even though our country is strong and stable. According to DSPACE, “poverty was responded to through the provision of basic minimum needs such as safe and clean houses and access to water and sanitation”. What others need to realize is that we are in a day in age where people are suddenly becoming more independent in terms of helping others in need but at the same time everyone is not always blessed with money privileges. The late adolescents that have experienced poverty are also traumatized by what is going on around them. According to “Adolescents’ Theories About Economic Inequality: Why Are Some People Poor While Others Are Rich?” by Constance A. Flanagan, late adolescents have a better understanding than do children or early adolescents of such things as who sets prices at stores, the negative effects of doing away with taxes, or the individual and systemic factors contributing to unemployment and homelessness. Could there possibly be any that we can prevent homelessness and improve the lives of those with a low income?
Granted, I would personally assume that we have been making a difference with helping others that are in need but there is one in particular that could make some drastic results in a positive way. According to “Psychology and Poverty Reduction: A Global Special Issue” by Stuart C. Carr, the primary goal is poverty reduction, which is undergirded by a series of other human development targets in health, education, work, gender-equity, the environment, and global partnership. If poverty reduction is a success then this may be a start of a cleaner world.
African Americans that live in poverty have some sickening statistics. According to “Poverty, Safety Net Programs, and African Americans’ Mental Health” by Lonnie R. Snowden, 13.1% of the U.S. population identifies themselves as African American. The poverty rate for African Americans 2012 was 27.2%. This poverty rate compares with a 9.7% poverty rate for non-Hispanic Whites. As an African American myself, it’s hard to see how my kind is at the top for homelessness and to come to a conclusion that there is a 17.5% difference in poverty rate with whites and African Americans. Despite African Americans’ higher poverty rates and a well-established link between poverty and mental illness, African Americans in community-based epidemiologic surveys exhibit lower rates of mental illness than White Americans.
Poverty does not only impact African American income, but also their health. Proportionately greater segments of the African American population are at risk for poverty-related mental illness. One reason for this could be the lack of service centers designated to help with lifting African Americans out of poverty. Even though we do have an extensive amount of homeless shelters, they alone do not solve the issues. H. Luke Shaefer and Kathryn Edin from “Rising Extreme Poverty in the United States and the Response of Federal Means-Tested Transfer Programs”studied monthly income and found that after adjusting for means-tested programs, the growth in the number of households experiencing extreme poverty was 49.9 percent using a monthly measure. In contrast, it was 97.4 percent using quarterly income and about the same when an equivalence scale is used. These are shocking numbers and should be influencing change. However, change is slow.
Poverty is a major issue still today. It really is a great source of heartache and distress for too many people. Unfortunately those that are out on the streets or that experience severe poverty are often secretive or do not wish to talk about their struggle. They are in pain, looking for their chance to break free. The studies do not lie. There simply is not enough being done to combat poverty currently, and that needs to change.