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The Poverty Issue in the United States and how Americans can overcome it

Updated on July 23, 2015

Like many individuals in the United States of America poverty is a major concern. According to historical standards, some would say that Americans are indeed wealthy. This is where the major conflict becomes apparent to all Americans and attention is paid. For example, if everyone in town were poor, one would accept that this is the way things are. On the contrast, if one is an extravagant millionaire, poverty is looked down upon and it just doesn’t seem right. “Today, 39 million people in America live in households with incomes below the poverty threshold, and over 13 million of those who live in poverty are children” (Carmen, 60). Any individual with human emotion will immediately be encouraged to help or provide assistance. What can we do as American citizens to help end poverty in the United States?

Five known factors that increase poverty levels on American citizens are a household’s income, wealth accumulation or depreciation, unemployment ratios, government assistance (food stamps, SNAP, etc.), and wages (salaries). Even though the recession ended nearly five years ago, household incomes from all genders and ethnicities are still attempting to “catch up”. “Near the end of 2013, American household income was 8% less than the year 2007” (Gongloff). This is a major concern for the United States following the lack of wealth accumulation. With falling numbers on both stock and home prices, it has become harder for an American to gain wealth over the past decade.

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The worst news in 2009 was when unemployment reached an all-time high of 10%. Naturally, the rise of unemployed individuals generated more funds spent on government assistance (food stamps). In 2013, American taxpayers paid $74.7 billion on government assistance. Lastly, over the last four decades salaries and wages have declined for American citizens placing more on the poverty scale. These factors have played a tremendous role in the poverty increase and decrease in the American economy.

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One would assume that the only way to solve these issues would be to create more jobs, promote better education, and provide better job training for work-seeking individuals. Since unemployment ratings are at 10% this portrays that many individuals do not have jobs. With job creation from both private and public sectors it could help many Americans out of poverty. Of course only “middle class” wages would help Americans out of poverty, not minimum wages since they are barely a means to survive. Along with job creation, job training is essential for those seeking employment. This will teach individuals through hands-on training the skills needed to succeed. Also, since an individual has training it will be easier to find employment and faster to enhance in their career.

A good, wholesome education will uplift poverty in any country for any individual. Since employment in construction and manufacturing have dwindled the vast career opportunities reside in production and customer service jobs. By training students in the math and science field predominately it will help them to succeed in their futures and acquire better careers. For example, over the next couple of decades the following fields such as engineering and information technology are steadily increasing for new hires. Not only will this keep jobs in the United States, but will help college graduates find employment after graduation.

The same responsibility that Americans have towards crimes, natural disasters, and inhumanity should be projected the same way towards the less fortunate. This is needed not only for internal development, but for the welfare of our fellow citizens. Assisting the less fortunate in America should be the entire United States’ concern, because helping thy fellow man has been a golden rule for years. Rich and wealthy countries are also helping Americans into poverty. Overseas countries who are “billing” American citizens with insufficient trade receipts like: unfair international trade, agricultural subsidies, restrictive property rules, and careless arms exports.

The national measures of poverty look at

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As a United Nation under God, we must continue to assist our fellow man through times of hardship and try not to judge. Even in the poorest countries assistance can be found (not much, but enough) for health, education, water, and necessary needs of life. Unfortunately, there are a select few who believe that it’s the less fortunate individual’s problem and not their own. This is a major misconception and the biggest downfall in our society. But, let’s face the fact that poverty and the poor have a humanitarian effect on us be it human suffering, recognition, or claims of justice.

A humanitarian is an individual who seeks to promote human welfare and is a philanthropist. As human beings we owe the American individuals in poverty justice! For example, Kenya has experienced lack of rain (drought) over the past few decades, but Americans continue to purchase exotic flowers from this area. By purchasing flowers grown with scarce, little amounts of water Americans are “exporting” drought. Why influence the suffering when we possess the power to end it?

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If one still thinks they need not have responsibility for our nation’s poverty, consider this example. While walking riverside a child is drowning and doesn’t appear to know how to swim. Do you feel an obligation to save this child? Hopefully many individuals will have answered yes and have felt an inner duty to rescue the poor child. If you’re an individual that would have saved the child, then why would you not save a fellow man drowning from poverty?

Historians will say that Americans are quite wealthy, but the facts show that these “well-off” individuals are not doing enough individually or collectively. Basically, wealthy individuals/countries have a moral responsibility to assist America out of poverty. Even if an extravagant millionaire plays the South Carolina Education Lottery, he will have helped an American citizen attain a decent education. Give out what you put in America and the world will continue to grow and thrive beautifully.

Works Cited

Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Jessica C. Smith, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007, Current Population Reports, pp. 60–235; U.S. Census Bureau, August 2008, at <http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p60-235.pdf>

Gongloff, Mark. “Median Income falls for 5th year, Inequality at Record High.” The Huffington Post, 17 September 2013.Web. 23 July 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/17/median-income-falls-inequality_n_3941514.html>

Goodman, Peter. “U.S. unemployment rate hits 10.2%, Highest in 26 years.” The New York Times, 6 November 2009.Web. 23 July 2015.

< http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/07/business/economy/07jobs.html>

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    • JulianaDragoness profile image
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      Mariah Aiken 2 years ago from Moncks Corner, South Carolina

      I completely agree HSchneider! Thank you so much!

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 2 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Excellent Hub, Mariah. I totally agree. Too many in our country feel that they owe nothing to society. In other words, do not tax my money. I still believe that we are a "one for all and all for one society, We must help and protect everyone especially our weakest.

    • JulianaDragoness profile image
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      Mariah Aiken 2 years ago from Moncks Corner, South Carolina

      Thank you

    • moneymindit profile image

      Money Man 2 years ago from California

      Interesting hub!!

      MM