Friday, November 8, 2013

New York Times: Poverty in the United States

Mark R. Rank, a professor of social welfare at Washington University in St. Louis writes an excellent summary of people in poverty in the US.  The story appears in the New York Times on November 2nd, 2013.  The piece is here(NYT). The article refuts many of the myths around people in poverty.

Some of the highight include...

Poverty is much more widespread than people realize.  More than half of all people in the US will experience a year in or near the poverty level. The poverty level is about $11,000 for an individual and $23,000 for a family of four.

The number of people in long term poverty is also small. To paraphrase the story, "People experience a year to two in poverty, then a longer period above the poverty line, then slip back again."

Most people in poverty are white.  About two thirds of people in poverty are white. The figure has remained the same "for several decades"

Finally, the author notes that people in poverty are motivated to work.  They have the same attitudes and behaviors as the rest of the country.

The sad part of Professor Rank's article is that curing poverty requires the will of the people and government which does not seem to care.

NYT: Poverty in America is Mainstream