Effect of rising poverty on government spenditure for the supplem...

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Effect of rising poverty on government spenditure for the supplemental nutritional assistance program

By | Feb. 2012
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Felicia Wilson
Public Finance
December 5th, 2011

Effect of Rising Poverty on Government Spenditure for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance program In 2008, at the start of the current recession, approximately 39.8 million Americans were living below the established poverty line. This constituted 13.2% of the total population of the United States at the time. By the beginning 2011, the number of Americans living in poverty had risen to 46.2 million, or 15.2% of the population. Of the 46.2 million, 16.4 million are children; approximately 22% of all children under the age of 18 living in the U.S. live in poverty (Hyman, 260). In West Virginia, the number percentage of the total population living in poverty remained relatively stable at approximately 17.8% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). The number of West Virginia children living in poverty increased slightly during this time, however. In 2008, the number of poor children in West Virginia equaled 86, 277, or 22.8% of all children under the age of 18 living in the state. By 2011, this number had increased to 88,610 children, or 23.6% (Children’s Defense Fund, 2011). While these figures seem to indicate that the condition of American’s has steadily worsened since the beginning of the recession, it also raises the question of what is meant by poverty. When the average American is asked to define poverty they immediately conjure up images of families living in substandard housing and struggling to put food on the table. They also believe that the number of fellow Americans living in these conditions is either substantially higher than the given figures due to the current, ongoing economic recession, as well as skewed reporting in the media regarding the poor (Rector and Sheffield, 5). While it is true that the economic crisis has led to a significant increase in the number of individuals and families living below the established poverty threshold, it has not necessarily increased the number of individuals or...