Poverty in America

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What does it mean to be “poor” in America? For the average person, the word poverty implies significant physical hardship. For example, the lack of a warm, adequate home, nutritious food or reasonable clothing for one’s children is a hardship for the average person. By that measure, very few of the 30 million plus individuals defined as “living in poverty” by the government are actually poor. Therefore, I have to agree with Segal, “What is poverty to one person may not seem so bad to another” (Segal, 2010, p.173). The United States government definite poverty by “absolute power” (Segal, 2010, p.173), which they use to determine if an individual or family is poor. Absolute power is a fixed predetermined annual pretax cash income of individuals or families. The Census Bureau deems a household poor if its income falls below federally specified levels (US Census Bureau).It is referred to as the threshold and guidelines for poverty. The thresholds are used mainly for statistical purposes- for instance, preparing the estimates of the number of Americans in poverty for each year’s report. For example, for a four-person family unit with two children, the poverty threshold is $21,834.00 and for a one-or two-person family units, the poverty threshold differs by age (Census Bureau). The poverty guidelines are simplification of the poverty thresholds which is issue by Department of Health and Human Services, it is use for administrative purposes- for instance, determining financial eligibility for certain federal program(Census Bureau). They are adjusted for families of different sizes. Despite America being the world's dominant economy and the only remaining world superpower, it is surprising to note that poverty still exists in the United States. The US Census Bureau places the official poverty rate at 12.7 percent, an increase from the 2003 figures. This translates to 37 million people living in poverty in the United States. More disturbing, the median poverty rate...
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