Sociology: Poverty and Long Island Essay

Submitted By Sydvigs1923
Words: 1102
Pages: 5

James Baldwin once said, “Anyone who has struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.” Poverty, existing all around the world, is a long term effect that drastically affects people’s lives. The federal government defines this term as the state of being extremely poor and lacking the basic human necessities. If a family’s total income is less than the family’s threshold, then every member of that family is considered to be living in poverty (1). In my opinion, poverty means that you do not have enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle. You are barely getting by, and you cannot purchase necessary items such as food, clothes, and other cosmetics. Other conditions that I view as poverty include not having a suitable home to live in, and not having a job that pays you enough money to live a normal life. Unfortunately, poverty is among more people than we think, and it continues to negatively affect people and their lives. Poverty and health are often said to be intertwined. An analysis of poverty rates and health published in the September issue of “The American Journal of Preventive Medicine” discovered that people living in poverty are more likely to develop chronic illnesses (2). In addition, people who live in poverty, make greater demands on the health care system. For example, Dr. Arthur Stone said, “People with more money or education would have better access to healthcare, and hence they would do better.” (3) Many diseases are also associated with poverty. Some of these diseases include HIV, AIDS, malaria, and asthma. Many of these illnesses are caused from lack of proper sanitation, pollution, infestation of insects in homes, lack of air conditioning, mold in homes, sharing of needles and other dangerous forms of direct contact between humans (4). Therefore, these diseases are often caused by poverty-related issues and are mostly among people who cannot afford to buy necessary products to take care of themselves. Unfortunately, here on Long Island poverty does exist. According to the Self Sufficiency Standard of 2010, families living on Long Island who make less than $85,000 have a hard time living a comfortable life. In addition, the 2010 American Community Survey discovered that the child poverty rate was 7.6% in Nassau County, and 7% in Suffolk. For black and Hispanic children, the poverty rate in Nassau was 14.2% and 15.8% in Suffolk. This happens to be a 34% increase from 2008 (5). In 2012, the ranks of poor people in the United States increased to nearly 1 in 6 people. Reaching a new high as a long-term unemployment left millions of Americans out of work and struggling to survive (6). Here in Kings Park, my local community, poverty also exists. Compared to New York as a whole which has a poverty rate of 8.8%, Kings Park has a poverty level of 3.7% (11). Although more and more programs are starting to develop to decrease poverty levels all around the world, people are struggling to eliminate the poverty in their lives. All around the world different socio-economic groups are more likely to be poor than others. On Long Island, African Americans and Latinos make up most of the people that are living in poverty (7). In 2010, the poverty rate for African Americans was 9.6% in Nassau County, and 10.2% in Suffolk. Hispanics made up 14.9% of Nassau County, and 10.3% of Suffolk. Both of these races exceed the poverty of whites on Long Island which was found to be 4.5% in Nassau County, and 5.4% in Suffolk. Another socio-economic group that experiences poverty is Asians with 4% in Nassau and 8.4% in Suffolk (8). More studies show that African American children are three times more likely to live in poverty that Caucasian children and American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian families are more likely than Caucasian and Asian families to live a poor lifestyle (9). In conclusion, there are different socio-economic groups that are more likely to be poor