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US should address its high poverty

November 10, 2011

IN OUR OPINION

 

With many Americans still facing economic issues, the poverty level is consistently rising, bringing the number of poor to an all time high.

 

New census data shows that 1 in 15 people in America rank among the poorest poor, with poverty spreading wildly across metropolitan areas.

 

An article by the Associated Press states that about 20.5 million Americans, or 6.7 percent of the U.S. population, make up the poorest poor, defined as those at 50 percent or less of the official poverty level.

 

Those living in deep poverty represent nearly half of the 46.2 million people scraping by below the poverty line. In 2010, the poorest poor meant an income of $5,570 or less for an individual and $11,157 for a family of four.

 

That 6.7 percent share is the highest in the 35 years that the Census Bureau has maintained such records, surpassing previous highs in 2009 and 1993 of just over 6 percent. This record shows that more Americans of different races, social statures and job status are being affected by the economy.

 

In the article, Robert Moffitt, a professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University, said poverty has gotten so bad that there are not many Americans left who are not witnessing changes because of it.

 

“There now really is no unaffected group, except maybe the very top income earners,” said Moffitt. “Recessions are supposed to be temporary, and when it’s over, everything returns to where it was before. But the worry now is that the downturn — which will end eventually — will have long-lasting effects on families who lose jobs, become worse off and can’t recover.”

 

It is the opinion of The Tech Talk that poverty will continue to increase in the near future due to unemployment, housing issues and a lack of stability in the economy.

 

With unemployment rates persistently high, many citizens cannot get ahead and have been forced to sell their homes and move into poor suburbs and other less desirable places.

 

According to the article by Associated Press, neighborhoods with poverty rates of at least 40 percent are stretching over broader areas, increasing in suburbs at twice the rate of cities.

 

The increase in this rate means we can expect to see more of the white, middle-class high school and college graduates rather than seeing mostly low income blacks, single mothers and foreigners who are seeking a better life.

 

Having more people living in high-poverty neighborhoods is definitely a bad thing for the citizens living there. Living in these neighborhoods limits access to good schools, hospitals and government services.

 

As a nation we like to pride ourselves on helping other nations in times of need, but we always seem to fall short when it comes to helping ourselves.

 

We believe that the government needs to take the time to improve our unemployment rates, housing and national debt before stepping outside our nation to help others.

 

We can only hope that the economy will stabilize in the near future and reduce the rate of poverty and that Americans will come together to uplift those in poverty and lessen some of their economic hardship.


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