SOC – 2090 – 801
February 6th, 2014
Social problems are controversies that occur directly or indirectly to some or all of the members of a society. For a social controversy to be considered a social problem, there has to be public attention arisen from the society. Poverty is a huge social problem that affects billions of people not only nationally and at a state wide level, but also at a county level as well. Poverty means that the poor have fewer opportunities to education, health care, and the support networks used for family stability. Poverty is both a structural aspect of the system and an ongoing consequence of how that system is organized, their easiest routes taken, that shape how the people in a society participate in it. Due to there being an unequal distribution of the resources poverty occurs. As poverty plays such a tremendous social problem in our world today, we must come to understand that poverty does not just effect one person or one area; it affects us locally, statewide, and nationally. The county we live in, Robeson County, has the third highest poverty level in the United States. It has been documented that one-third of the families that reside in Robeson County live on $15,000 or less in a years’ time. Based on the information Manager Ken Windley of Robeson County had provided, just within a seven or eight month time span Robeson County had lost over more than 9,000 of its jobs. Windley stated in an interview, “Education opportunities weren’t needed when factory work was available.” Over 45% of the working class in Robeson County have no high school education, which in return makes finding a job almost impossible for majority of unemployed residents (www.wral.com/news). Poverty in North Carolina continues to increase at a dangerously steady rate. According to the federal census, almost 15 percent of North Carolinians, roughly 1.2 million individuals, live in poverty today. Poverty is one of the major leading social problems in North Carolina alone. In the past 20 years there has been tremendous shifts in the global division of labor. In North Carolina the furniture and textile industries were the industries that took the hit when shifts in global division of labor started to occur. Due to these shifts occurring, they have led to the expansion and production goods to Mexico and China. Because of all the outpouring of jobs to Mexico and China we as a state have been left surrounded with unemployment, underemployment, and poverty among workers and their families. In two different reports in 2001 and 2003, the Justice Center has estimated that in 2003 the living income in North Carolina was $39,674 for an urban family of four, in contrast to the federal poverty level of $18,400 for the same family. North Carolina’s poverty rate fell to 20.3 percent by 1969, to 14.8 percent in 1979, to 13 percent in 1989, and to 12.3 percent in 1999. The steady decrease was because of a fast growing economy. But most economists also believe that social programs passed by Congress in the ’60s such as Medicaid, Medicare, federal housing programs; food stamps have also played an important role in creating poverty (www.newsobserver.com). Our nation has seen periods of dramatic poverty devaluation at times when most were full in employment and was combined with supportive civic involvement, stable federal and state policies, uninterrupted national commitment, and predetermined individual initiative. However, our nation in the last six years has moved in the opposite direction. Fewer people are becoming increasingly successful and wealthy while a disproportionately larger population is also becoming even poorer. The amount of poor Americans has expanded by five million, while inequality has reached historic high levels. One article, “From Poverty to Prosperity” reads, the richest 1 percent of Americans in 2005 held the largest share of the nation’s income (19 percent) since 1929. At the same time, the poorest...
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