Poverty in America

March 20, 2013
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“Poverty does not belong in civilized human society. Its proper place is in a museum. That's where it will be.”
Muhammad Yunus

Today, there are 50 million Americans in poverty, and the number will only go up from here. This is including 16 million children. I think that 50 million people is 50 million too many. This quote is showing how poverty needs to be banished, and it shows how poverty should be history and not taking place right now. Everyone says how America is one of the wealthiest countries…so why do we have 50 million people in poverty? At least 16 % of Americans live below the poverty line Poverty is considered one of the leading problems in America. Around a quarter of people in poverty have jobs, but they don’t make enough to afford the main needs such as health care, shelter, food, and clothing. The U.S. Census Bureau presented that poverty is less than $11,945 per year for a single person and $23,283 for a family of four. It is said that one in eight Americans live in poverty. The amount of poverty in America ranks much higher than the amount of poverty in other established nations. At the turn of the 21st century, the U.S. was grouped 24th overall among 25 countries, when calculating the population below 50 percent of average income. Most people living in poverty don’t live in the severe living conditions that the media portrays they do, but it is still hard for them to make ends meet. These people struggle to afford things like cars, air conditioning, and cable. I think the amount of poverty in the United States need to be decreased.

Poverty is caused by many different things. The central causes of poverty in America are stereotyping, separation from social activities, lack of knowledge, employment skills, and education. The most commonly known cause of poverty is the loss of jobs because of the drop in the economy. Substance abuse can cause poverty. A person will spend all of their money on drugs or alcohol, which leads to poverty. Around 40% or more of Americans are homeless because of an addiction. Some people get addicted to other things like gambling. They go spend all their money. Some adults even put drinking, smoking, or gambling before they put their or their family’s needs. Approximately 50% of homeless people have a mental illness, and nearly 25% of the homeless have chronic mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. It is unacceptable that most of the homeless people in the United States have some form of disability. Poverty can also be caused by the division of a family. I believe these people should have the opportunity to be taken care of instead of being treated like the way that they are.

There are obviously many effects of poverty. Poverty affects adults and children. The poverty of a child’s parents affects the child tremendously. Poor children are victims of hopeless academic achievements, abuse, neglect, school dropout, behavior and social problems, and development delay. Schools in poorer communities have difficulty meeting the learning requirements of students and reaching their potential. Children have a tougher time getting along with others, they are more aggressive, likely to have ADHD, and control problems. They are also more apt to have anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression. Children living in poverty are at risk for various amounts of health problems. It is sad that the children born into poverty don’t have a chance to be successful. Adults are affected by poverty in numerous ways. Poverty leads to divorce, which further leads to pitiful parenting. Adults may become insecure, or envious of friends or family who are making more money. They may start stealing money, because they have so little. The effects of poverty are major on adults and children. Adults might even commit suicide, because they feel like they have failed in life and think that his or her family won’t love them anymore.

There are several ways that poverty can be prevented. More jobs should be offered, and the income should be able to support their basic needs. Growing up in poverty minimizes a child’s opportunities or success, so opportunities should be displayed for them. The skills of young mothers should be improved, and the poor should be offered education or job training. People who are wealthier can donate money, food, learning tools, and clothes. Obviously one of the more common ways that poverty can be helped is buy people giving up their time for them. You can go to food drives, go to fundraisers, or go to soup kitchens. Everyone should get involved to try to decrease the amount of poverty in the United States. Anyone can help the poor no matter how old they are.

Teenagers can help those suffering from poverty as well. They can donate a little money here and there, or they can just also donate things that they don’t need any more, such as clothes, toys, or books. Most teenagers prefer to keep their money to themselves and spend it on useless stuff that they don’t actually need. I know that most teenagers would be embarrassed saying “sorry I can’t hang out I am going to the soup kitchen,” but if you think about it at least you can afford to go bowling, to the movies, or simply a warm house to hang out at. Is your popularity worth more than a life? Every time you throw your extra food out at dinner there is someone in America dying for that food. Even the little things you do mean so much to them. I know they would be so thankful if they knew you did something. You could have saved someone’s life with the little thing you did.

As you can see, there are more than the basics of poverty. These poor people struggle on a daily basis to provide the needs of themselves and their family. Poverty affects adults and their children in so many ways. I believe that poverty should be one of the main focuses of America. I have deep sorrow for these people doing whatever they can to make money. I think that poverty needs to be decreased in the United States. I don’t know how the people in poverty do it. They have a weight that they are carrying on their shoulders that they shouldn’t. It’s time for a change.

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