A 21st Century Journalism Project

The Truth About Poverty

In Defining The Problem on March 1, 2012 at 10:01 am

By TRISHA RICE

Underlining poverty and it’s issues

Many people believe that poverty in the United States is a recent phenomenon. But poverty is not new and it is not going anywhere in the near future. Poverty is a serious issue that effects many people each and every day. The struggle to know how you are going to pay the next bill, or where to find the next meal hurts many. These people are considered the working poor. For them working becomes of way of living just to survive.

 Poverty can happen to anyone. The government defines the poverty line as income of $22,314 a year for a family of four and $11,139 for an individual. $22,000 does not make ends meet for most families. Adding more family members to the family makes it even harder on that wage to survive.

A 21 year old Edinboro University student who wishes to remain nameless, has struggled with this issue since a young age. We will call him Tom. Tom grew up living a very hard and stressful life and is still living the lifestyle he grew up in. “Considering I came from a background where neither of my parents went to college and I was raised by a single mother who really doesn’t have the best job it was very hard for me growing up,” he said.

He’s doing something different than his parents but he still has the same financial struggle, he responded with “I may be going to college but I still carry the financial struggle my parents had. Over the years the worth of a college degree or a high school diploma lessens and lessens”.

Just because someone did not pursue higher education after high school does not mean they are not successful. It is just

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proven that higher education helps to obtain professional success.

One in five children lived in poverty in 2010. This means that a high number of children are suffering with loss of clothes and well-being. The rate of children in poverty in 2010 is similar to the rate going on now in present time. 96 percent of poor parents stated that their children were never hungry at any time during the year because they could not afford food. Most parents would go hungry before letting their own child go hungry.

There are places to get help. Food banks across the nation help families to get food. In this process, families must make a declaration of need; state how much money they make and how many people are in their household. Once the paperwork is finished they receive food for their family.

Most people believe the issue of poverty is easy to eliminate. Wrong! It is an issue that has crept up on our society and will take many to several years to diminish the issue if even at all.

Many people believe that only certain races or social groups are having this financial struggle. This is also false. Poverty is not biased in any way. The poverty rate was lowest for non-Hispanic whites at 9.9 percent.  Blacks had the highest rate of 27.4 percent, followed by the Hispanic origin at 26.6 percent. Asians had a poverty rate of 12.1 percent. Poverty is happening to everyone regardless of age, race or gender.

Women struggle more than men. In the past women were brought up to be housewives and the men were meant to go to college. Not only is there discrimination against women that creates this, but most women in poverty are also single mothers. About 14 percent of men live below the poverty line, compared to 16.2 percent for women. Tom was brought up by a single mother who experienced the same issue. “My mother never attended college and never had the greatest job. It took her till the time we were out of the house to get a decent job for herself. Now she is finally taking classes to get a nursing job,” explained Tom.

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“It became even harder for my mother to take care of us without a vehicle”. This topic holds another debate in itself. How are people supposed to go to work and support their families with no way of getting there? Not everyone has access to public transportation. “I bought a car from an auction near my house and not to long after I bought it, it broke down. Then I was forced to have my girlfriend take me to work just so I could keep my job. Then just a few days ago she got in a car accident and her vehicle was totaled. Now I have to call off work because I have no way to make it there. There is no way I can afford another car right now. Not having a way to work means no money to even attempt to buy a car”, said Tom.

The poverty rate is rising within our society. Families all across the country  live in fear with the issue of money haunting them. The rest of society does not see this issue because it is not happening to them but what people need to realize it is happening everywhere.

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