Poverty and Children in the United States
Who are America’s poor children? How many children in America are poor? What are some of the hardships that face poor children in America? These are only a few questions that we can ask ourselves when considering children who live in poverty in America. Children face monumental hardships in our country because of poverty or the condition of not possessing the means to afford basic human needs. The economic crisis that we find ourselves in today threatens to cause a dramatic increase in the number of America’s poor children; however poverty in America has long been a crisis that has faced the children of our nation. This essay will investigate the previous asked questions and research the challenges that poverty plays on the sociology of children in the United States. Who are America’s Poor Children?
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) 14 million American children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level, which is $22,050 a year for a family of four. They also state that the number of children living in poverty increased by 21 % between 2000 and 2008 and it is estimated that there are 2.5 million more children living in poverty today than in 2000. (Wright, 2010) These numbers are staggering and are estimated to grow significantly in the next few years considering the current economic crisis facing the United States. The NCCP explains that current research shows, on average, families need an income of about twice the federal poverty level to survive. Children who live in homes with incomes of $44,100 or less, for a family of four, are considered low income. This means that forty one percent of children in the United States live in low income homes. Children represent 25 % of the population and 41 % of all children live in low income families and nearly one in every five live in poor families (NCCP, 2010). Families in the United States are facing challenging economic times where workers are seeing decline in wages and the loss of jobs. Many cannot afford basic human needs with increased costs on food, gas, and of homes; these economic realities have a profound sociological effect on America’s children. The NCCP goes on to state that some of the characteristics of children who live in poverty in the United States are race and ethnicity related. They note that 11 % of white children live in poor families, 35 % of black children live in poor families, and 31% of Hispanic children live in poor families. These figures show that black and Hispanic children are disproportionately poor in the United States. Also children who live in single parented homes are more likely to live below the poverty line especially those who live with single mothers. “Female headed households live in poverty more than all other household types” (Poverty, 2001). Single mothers have been labeled the “new poor” most often because of changes in family composition such as divorce, separation, and remarriage, driven by a series of events in their lives. Who are America’s children living in poverty? They are the kids who live in the confines of these statistics generated by levels of income and they are often children which we see every day. Unlike the torturous pictures we see of poverty stricken children who live in underdeveloped countries, the children of the United States who live in poverty are struggling to survive in a society where poverty goes very often unnoticed. Hardships Facing Children who live in Poverty
In the article “In America Today, hunger is very real”; Yolanda Young quoted President Obama saying “Hunger rose significantly last year.” Mr. Obama said that he hopes to alleviate childhood hunger by 2015. (Young, 2009) What does that mean then for the children who are going hungry today? These children eat less healthy meals, they visit shelters, they get help from school food programs, and they eat...
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