The Problems behind Poverty
The United States needs to address the growing disparity between the “haves and the have nots” in the American society. The gap between the rich and poor continues to grow. Although the growth in service oriented jobs continues, many of these jobs provide incomes little above the poverty level. The American middle class, the bulwark of our society, is under attack as never before. As corporations downsize and as jobs move outside the United States, we are weakening the very segment of American society that has been our greatest strength.
Poverty is defined as a state in which income is insufficient to provide basic necessities such as food, shelter, medical care, and clothing. Contrary to popular opinion, people are not poor primarily because of their unwillingness to work. In 2005, about a third of those 16 and older who were in poverty engaged in paid work during the year, and a small percentage worked full-time (DeNavas-Walt, Proctor and Lee 2006). Among those who didn’t work were people who couldn’t find a job, the disabled, the elderly, and single parent who would have to pay more for child care than the would earn in the jobs available to them. Poverty is a global problem and that the poor of other nations are worse off in absolute terms then are the poor of America. Wealth and poverty are not distributed equally among various social groups. However, there are several dimensions that explain why poverty exist in the United States such as social institutions, social stratification, loss of jobs, and the cost of living differences between various areas.
All societies have some system of stratification; class stratification is the basis for poverty. Class stratification is the division of society into strata based on economic resources and assumes that other social indicators depend on income (Day 2005 pg 14). Social Institutions contribute to poverty include the economy, the polity, the family, religion and social welfare....