The Three Different Types Of Poverty In The United States

Submitted By rkelsey22
Words: 1892
Pages: 8

Mid Term Exam
1. (A) There are three different types of poverty biological poverty, relative poverty, and official poverty. Biological poverty is refers to malnutrition and starvation. It could also refer to housing and clothing so inadequate that people suffer from exposure. Homeless people endure biological poverty. Relative poverty refers to comparing people’s standard of living and concluding that some are worse or better off than others. The United States uses the term official poverty which refers to an income level that makes someone eligible for welfare benefits. People below the poverty line are defined as “poor” and people above the line are “not poor” (Henslin 193). Most people who fall below this poverty line do not stay there. Most people are only poor for a short amount of time such as when he or she is injured, sick, or during layoffs or slow seasons at work. Depending upon where people live makes a huge difference in their chances of being poor. If one is reared in the inner city he or she has a much better chance of living in poverty. Rural areas of the country also have higher than average poverty. In the United States there is a higher rate of poverty in the South. Poverty is also related to race-ethnicity. African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are two to three times as likely as whites to be poor (Henslin 204). Native Americans account for 28.4% of the poverty in the U.S., African Americans account for 27.1%, Latinos account for 24.8%, Asian Americans account for 12.5%, and whites only account for 10.6%. Age is also related to poverty. The poverty rate of the elderly is lower than the national average, but the poverty rate of children is lower. The children’s rate of poverty is more than twice as high as that of seniors. Poverty is lowest among Asian American children at 14%, and considerably higher Latino (34.5%) and African American children (39.2%). Children who are fortunate enough to live both of their parents are rarely poor which is opposite of children who only live with one parent. Obviously, two incomes is better than one income. Single parent mothers average just one-third of what families with two working parents earn (Henslin 206). Women who have children at a young age are especially disadvantaged. The same could be said for women who divorce after being homemakers for years because they have limited work skills and jobs are hard to come by. As a result, their income is affected tremendously. Also, many fathers do not pay child support with only two out of five single mothers receiving full child support. Looking at all these factors makes it easy to see why women and children are more likely to be poor. Furthermore, most people who work at minimum wage jobs are poor. The United States has a large underclass made up of people who are locked into minimum wage jobs. Unfortunately, as a result they will remain in poverty their whole life. Poverty follows lines of geography, age, education, gender, race-ethnicity, and marital status (Henslin 209). (B) Henslin notes that patterns of poverty “do not point to laziness, stupidity, or any other personal characteristics as its cause: but instead point to “structural features of society.” These structural sources of poverty are discrimination, marriage and reproductive patterns, education, welfare programs, changes in the economy, and the availability of work. The first structural source is discrimination. Discrimination is singling people out for unfair treatment. For example one may be not even considered for a job position just because of his or her skin color or ethnicity. As a result, one may not be able to make a substantial living for his or her self. The structural source of discrimination can have an impact on whether someone is poor or not. Another structural source of poverty is marriage and reproductive patterns. Research has shown that there is a high relation between marriage and reproductive patterns and someone being poor.