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Who the poor really are: it's more complex than you think!

Updated on March 7, 2017
It's not always clear cut.
It's not always clear cut. | Source

Who are the poor?

Welfare and poverty are hot button topics! There doesn't seem to be a middle ground with how people feel about the topic. People either see the welfare queens who are abusing the system. Or, people see the rich that don't care about the little guy on welfare. They got lucky anyway right?!? A completely different category is those on benefits due to a disability so severe they can not work. I am also not talking about people who have to use government benefits for a few months due to a job loss while they get back on their feet.

So, why do I care about this topic. I grew up under the poverty line as a kid, however, we did not believe the government was responsible for supporting us. After I graduated college I worked in the rough parts of Milwaukee with those who receive benefits. I got my hands dirty, and had to opportunity to see what was really going on with this culture from the inside. We can't fix a problem until it is identified, so let's take a look at who the poor really are:

Welfare generations: This is the group of people who welfare life is all they know. They live in their own little bubble of waiting outside for the check in the mail. Their grandparents do that, their parents do that, they do that, and according to the National Review, the children are likely to do the same thing. They may have sporadic motivation to go do something with their life. However, it is usually too short lived to have any follow through. This would require (what is considered to them) a substantial amount of work. They simply subsist. Their basic needs are met enough to keep their head above water, by the government, so they are not hurting.

The single working moms: This is a rather large group. According to Single Mother Statistics 45% of children age 18 and under living with a single working mother are under the poverty line. This is the single mom who likely got pregnant at an early age. In order to support her family she needed to get a job, however she does not have the education or skills to get a job that pays well. She did not go to school since she needed to feed her family and the baby's father is not in the picture. When I was working in Milwaukee, often times the father was in jail so no child support was being garnished. Sometimes, these mom's would go on to have two or three kids with different fathers. It was not uncommon for all the fathers to be in jail or unemployed. I learned this information because this must be disclosed when applying for low income housing where I worked.

The uneducated or unmotivated: There is a large section of the population that dropped out of high school and are now working menial jobs. Sometimes they can qualify for needs based benefits. However, this is usually limited since there is no real need like a child involved. They are typically not savvy enough to abuse the system. They work enough to get by, they don't have any motivation to change their circumstances. They are what they choose to be.

I'll be talking about this more in another article. I wanted to accurately define the problem, before proposing how to fix it. This is what I saw the most when I was working as categories of those in poverty. I'll also be talking more about why they are the situation they are in, and how we really have to fix it.


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      grampapa 13 months ago

      The worst poverty we can experience is the poverty of the soul..