Poverty in the US and Elsewhere
1
"Conservatives say if you
don't give the rich more
money, they will lose their
incentive...
The many are not
enslaved
because they
are poor, they
are poor
because they
are enslaved.
Bertrand
Russell
2
"If a free society cannot help the many are poor, it
cannot save the few who are rich." ~ John F.
Kennedy inaugural addres...
Poverty in the US
Our typical view of such phenomena is
called “ideographic.” This looks at
the individual case. The perso...
Poverty in the US
As such, we might use our “sociological imagination” as
C. Wright Mills suggested not all that long ago....
Poverty in the US
The stigma and stereotyping of poverty in
the United States is intense, and the
media, for whatever reas...
Poverty in the US
Let’s look at some of the common stereotypes.
(Perhaps your personal experience supports
some):
1. Lazy
...
The Welfare Queen Myth
The term "welfare queen"
was created by then
presidential candidate
Ronald Reagan in 1976
during hi...
Reagan’s Speech 1976
 "She has eighty names, thirty addresses,
twelve Social Security cards and is
collecting veteran's b...
Reagan’s Speech 1976
 Per a New York Times
article Reagan did not
have the facts.
 In fact the woman he
referred to had ...
How many are we?
As of 2010, the number of people in the
United States who qualify as being in
poverty is now about 46.2 m...
My Argument:
 If, say, the “culture of poverty” thesis is
true, that the poor are deliberately lazy
and live by a differe...
13
The Number and Rate of the Poverty in the
US, 1959-2010
Who are our Poor?
 Minorities
 Children
 Disabled
 Single mothers
14
15
2008 HHS Poverty
Guidelines
Persons in Family or
Household
48 Contiguous States and
D.C. Alaska Hawaii
1 10,400.00$ 13,...
16
Alyssa lives with her parents in Kentucky. She is an only child but her
grandmother, uncle, and orphaned cousin live close...
Food Stamps SNAP
(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
Per GOVT web page:
http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_rec...
Poverty Numbers by Race 2009
19
•Non-Hispanic Whites: 29.8 million (12.3%)
•Hispanic: 12.3 million (25.3 %)
•African Ameri...
Women
 In 2007, 28.3 percent of households
headed by single women were poor.
(Read that number again please.)
 13.6 perc...
Children Under 18 in Poverty
21
Category Number (in
thousands)
Percent
All children under 18 16,401 22.0
White, non-Hispan...
Veterans:
 About 12% of the adult homeless
population are veterans.
 The U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Developmen...
Veterans:
 About 1.4 million other veterans,
meanwhile, are considered at risk of
homelessness due to poverty, lack of
su...
24
By age 50, 42 percent of Americans will
have been in poverty for at least a year.
(Lauer and Lauer 2006)
[It still checks ...
Families with children are among the
fastest growing group of the homeless.
Later we can look at poverty in the
world. For...
Poverty in the US
Perhaps you have heard the song:
“Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on
Drugs.”
http://www.youtube.com/wa...
28
More on shelter, or lack of
29
In Sweden the poverty-level is applied to
incomes at about 60 percent of the
median Swedish income; and in other
European ...
Median income as a measure in
the US:
In 1992, $13,000 was the poverty level
for families consisting of an elderly
couple ...
Wealth and Income Distribution
While income (what you earn regularly) is
a useful measure of social strata, wealth
(what y...
 The wealthiest 1 percent of American
households own nearly 40 percent of the
nation’s wealth.
 The lowest 40 percent ow...
Country Best off 10th Poorest 10th Inequality
Index
Sweden 152% 56% 2.7
Netherlands 175 62 2.9
Norway 162 55 2.9
Switzerla...
35
GNP Per Capita for Selected Countries
2 Minute Writing:
Would you pay more in taxes
to eliminate poverty?
36
Global Poverty
37
Two Categories
 Absolute Poverty
 Relative Poverty
38
Absolute poverty is a condition in which
people do not have adequate resources to
met their minimum needs, such as food,
w...
Childhood poverty rates in rich countries. UNICEF,
2005
40
Absolute Poverty USA
41
Relative poverty applies to those for whom
the minimum needs have been met, but
who still experience a great deal of
econo...
Relative Poverty
Relative Poverty is what we my think of as
the dominant form in the United States,
and indeed, the rest o...
Relative Poverty UK
44
Some Relative Poverty around
us now
45
More of the absolute stuff USA
46
Criterion for Global Poverty
The UNDP (United Nations
Development Program) has use as a
measure the “less than a dollar a ...
48
Also is the capability poverty measure
(CPM) for poverty. It is based upon three
criteria:
1 The capability to be well nou...
2 The capability for healthy reproduction,
measured by the proportion of births
unattended by trained health personnel.
3 ...
Relative Rates of Poverty
Source: Michael F. Forster,"Measurement of low Income and Poverty in a Perspective of
Internatio...
52
 ▪The fact that the poorest Americans are worse
off than the poorest Europeans is confirmed
whatever poverty and inequali...
54
55
Could you live on
this here in Salinas?
#
56
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Poverty 03-06-2015

  1. 1. Poverty in the US and Elsewhere 1 "Conservatives say if you don't give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they've lost all incentive because we've given them too much money.” George Carlin
  2. 2. The many are not enslaved because they are poor, they are poor because they are enslaved. Bertrand Russell 2
  3. 3. "If a free society cannot help the many are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." ~ John F. Kennedy inaugural address, January 20, 1961 3
  4. 4. Poverty in the US Our typical view of such phenomena is called “ideographic.” This looks at the individual case. The person on the street. Another view is called “nomothetic.” This word basically means “law” (nomos) and looks at “general” circumstances. That is, how might this condition be in the social realm, not just for this individual. 4
  5. 5. Poverty in the US As such, we might use our “sociological imagination” as C. Wright Mills suggested not all that long ago. That is, when a condition applies to an individual only, there is a personal trouble. But when such a condition is affecting many people, then there is a public issue (i.e. a social problem). For more on this consider reading his work in more detail at http://socialsciences.nsula.edu/assets/Site- Files/The-Promise.pdf 5
  6. 6. Poverty in the US The stigma and stereotyping of poverty in the United States is intense, and the media, for whatever reasons, does much to perpetuate these negative images. 6
  7. 7. Poverty in the US Let’s look at some of the common stereotypes. (Perhaps your personal experience supports some): 1. Lazy 2. Addicted to alcohol or drugs 3. Prefer welfare to employment (“work the system”) 4. The “Welfare Queen,” who is usually black, drives and Cadillac. 5. The single mother who had more children to extend welfare benefits. 7
  8. 8. The Welfare Queen Myth The term "welfare queen" was created by then presidential candidate Ronald Reagan in 1976 during his 1976 concession speech. He would tell the story of a woman from Chicago's South Side who was arrested for welfare fraud: 8
  9. 9. Reagan’s Speech 1976  "She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veteran's benefits on four non- existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She's got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000." 9
  10. 10. Reagan’s Speech 1976  Per a New York Times article Reagan did not have the facts.  In fact the woman he referred to had four aliases, not 89, collected about $8,000, not $150,000.  Regardless, the myth continues. 10
  11. 11. How many are we? As of 2010, the number of people in the United States who qualify as being in poverty is now about 46.2 million people. That is around 15 percent of our population. 11
  12. 12. My Argument:  If, say, the “culture of poverty” thesis is true, that the poor are deliberately lazy and live by a different value system that the rest of the country, then wouldn’t that make the United States the laziest of all the industrialized nations? 12
  13. 13. 13 The Number and Rate of the Poverty in the US, 1959-2010
  14. 14. Who are our Poor?  Minorities  Children  Disabled  Single mothers 14
  15. 15. 15 2008 HHS Poverty Guidelines Persons in Family or Household 48 Contiguous States and D.C. Alaska Hawaii 1 10,400.00$ 13,000.00$ 11,960.00$ 2 14,000 17,500 16,100 3 17,600 22,000 20,240 4 21,200 26,500 14,380 5 24,800 31,000 28,520 6 28,400 35,500 32,660 7 32,000 40,000 36,800 8 35,600 44,500 40,940 For each additional person, add 3,600 4,500 4,140
  16. 16. 16
  17. 17. Alyssa lives with her parents in Kentucky. She is an only child but her grandmother, uncle, and orphaned cousin live close by. Their small, shabby house, heated only by a wooden stove, is falling apart. The ceiling in Alyssa's bedroom is beginning to cave in. The family would like to buy a trailer if they could afford it. Alyssa's mother works at McDonald's and her father works at Walmart; everything they earn goes towards bringing up their daughter. (http://www.motherjones.com/media/2012/11/kids-bedrooms-james-mollison)
  18. 18. Food Stamps SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Per GOVT web page: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_recipients/facts.htm It states that it helps low-income people buy the food they need for good health. You may be able to get SNAP benefits if you are: •Working for low wages or working part-time •Unemployed; •Receiving welfare or other public assistance payments •Elderly or disabled and are low-income; •Homeless.
  19. 19. Poverty Numbers by Race 2009 19 •Non-Hispanic Whites: 29.8 million (12.3%) •Hispanic: 12.3 million (25.3 %) •African American: 10 million (25.8%) •Asian & Pacific Islander: 17.5 million (12.5%) (US Census 2009)
  20. 20. Women  In 2007, 28.3 percent of households headed by single women were poor. (Read that number again please.)  13.6 percent of households headed by single men and 4.9 percent of married- couple households lived in poverty. (National Poverty Center) 20
  21. 21. Children Under 18 in Poverty 21 Category Number (in thousands) Percent All children under 18 16,401 22.0 White, non-Hispanic 5,002 12.4 Black 4,817 38.2 Hispanic 6,110 35.0 Asian and Pacific Islander 547 13.3 NOTE: These numbers have gone up quite a bit since 2005
  22. 22. Veterans:  About 12% of the adult homeless population are veterans.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 49,933 veterans are homeless on any given night. 22
  23. 23. Veterans:  About 1.4 million other veterans, meanwhile, are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.National Coalition for Homeless Veteranshttp://nchv.org/index.php/news/m edia/background_and_statistics/ 23
  24. 24. 24
  25. 25. By age 50, 42 percent of Americans will have been in poverty for at least a year. (Lauer and Lauer 2006) [It still checks out as of 2010 from a variety of interpretations of census data.] 25
  26. 26. Families with children are among the fastest growing group of the homeless. Later we can look at poverty in the world. For a peek, look at how we compare to many other countries. 26
  27. 27. Poverty in the US Perhaps you have heard the song: “Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on Drugs.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uByGoPGP9wY Need I say more? Perhaps I should. 27
  28. 28. 28
  29. 29. More on shelter, or lack of 29
  30. 30. In Sweden the poverty-level is applied to incomes at about 60 percent of the median Swedish income; and in other European countries it varies between 40 and 60 percent. In other words, in countries where the standards for qualifying as being in poverty are lower than those of the US, the level of poverty is also lower. 30
  31. 31. Median income as a measure in the US: In 1992, $13,000 was the poverty level for families consisting of an elderly couple because the median income for such families was $26,000. But the official poverty figure was only $8,500, about one-third the median income. 31
  32. 32. Wealth and Income Distribution While income (what you earn regularly) is a useful measure of social strata, wealth (what you have) is better. Let’s look at the US distribution of wealth: 32
  33. 33.  The wealthiest 1 percent of American households own nearly 40 percent of the nation’s wealth.  The lowest 40 percent own about 1 percent of the nation’s wealth  The poorest 20 percent of Americans receive 5.7 percent, and the richest 20 percent receive 55 percent of all after-tax income—the greatest inequality in the developed world.  (Lauer and Lauer 2006) 33
  34. 34. Country Best off 10th Poorest 10th Inequality Index Sweden 152% 56% 2.7 Netherlands 175 62 2.9 Norway 162 55 2.9 Switzerland 185 54 3.4 France 193 55 3.5 U K 194 51 3.8 Canada 184 46 4.0 Italy 198 49 4.1 United States 206 35 5.9 Gini Index by select developed nations 34
  35. 35. 35 GNP Per Capita for Selected Countries
  36. 36. 2 Minute Writing: Would you pay more in taxes to eliminate poverty? 36
  37. 37. Global Poverty 37
  38. 38. Two Categories  Absolute Poverty  Relative Poverty 38
  39. 39. Absolute poverty is a condition in which people do not have adequate resources to met their minimum needs, such as food, water, clothing and shelter. 39
  40. 40. Childhood poverty rates in rich countries. UNICEF, 2005 40
  41. 41. Absolute Poverty USA 41
  42. 42. Relative poverty applies to those for whom the minimum needs have been met, but who still experience a great deal of economic uncertainty. They have few options for the goods they can afford. Also, although they are often working, they are underemployeed. 42
  43. 43. Relative Poverty Relative Poverty is what we my think of as the dominant form in the United States, and indeed, the rest of the so-called “developed” world. 43
  44. 44. Relative Poverty UK 44
  45. 45. Some Relative Poverty around us now 45
  46. 46. More of the absolute stuff USA 46
  47. 47. Criterion for Global Poverty The UNDP (United Nations Development Program) has use as a measure the “less than a dollar a day” criterion. It estimates that 1.3 billion people meet this measure worldwide. 47
  48. 48. 48
  49. 49. Also is the capability poverty measure (CPM) for poverty. It is based upon three criteria: 1 The capability to be well nourished (measured by the proportion of children under the age of five who are underweight. 49
  50. 50. 2 The capability for healthy reproduction, measured by the proportion of births unattended by trained health personnel. 3 The capability to be educated, measured by female illiteracy. 50
  51. 51. Relative Rates of Poverty Source: Michael F. Forster,"Measurement of low Income and Poverty in a Perspective of International Comparisons," Occasional Paper No.14. Paris:OECD,1994. 51 Country/Year Percent USA 1986 18.7% Australia 1985-6 15.7 Canada 1987 15.4 U.K. 1986 12.4 Sweden 1987 12.1 Italy 1986 10.1 France 1984 8.9 Germany 1984-5 8.5 Belgium 1985 5.4 Netherlands 1987 4.7
  52. 52. 52
  53. 53.  ▪The fact that the poorest Americans are worse off than the poorest Europeans is confirmed whatever poverty and inequality measure is taken as a basis.  While the average American has a higher living standard than the average resident in the other countries, this does not hold for the entire spectrum of the income distribution.  Furthermore, the levels and duration of poverty is higher in the United States and the United Kingdom than in Continental European countries: more people experience poverty and stay longer in poverty in US and UK.Source: (OECD 2004) 53
  54. 54. 54
  55. 55. 55 Could you live on this here in Salinas?
  56. 56. # 56

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