Social Stratification: Implications of Race on Poverty

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D. Lily Palmer
John L. Steadman
WRIT 121
February 17, 2011
Social stratification: implications of race on poverty Poverty is a significant yet emotional, concern that may seem like unrealistic fiction yet is a real condition affecting hard working Americans as cost of living and inflation rises yet the minimum wage remains the same. With increased unemployment, there is an increase in the number of people who are considered either at poverty level or on the threshold of poverty. Although Effects of poverty are not specifically restricted to a specific race or social class, there is a correlation in poverty levels indicative to specific racial groups. To help us better understand the effects poverty has on social structures it is necessary to analyze how ethnicity effects social stratification and poverty.

To analyze poverty we must first define it. The U.S Census Bureau uses two methods for calculating monetary income thresholds varying by family size and composition to determine poverty. If a family’s total income is less than the family’s threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered in poverty. The poverty guidelines are another version of the federal poverty measure, mainly used for qualifying for government programs. The poverty thresholds were originally developed in 1963-1964 by Mollie Orshansky of the Social Security Administration. These thresholds are based on the fact that you can’t calculate what is enough, yet you can calculate how much is too little.

Thresholds vary according to the Size of the family, Ages of the members, and Monetary income: Before taxes. Poverty thresholds were originally derived in 1963-1964 using U.S. Department of Agriculture food budgets designed for families under economic stress. The portion of families’ income spent on food was used to calculate how much was spent on cost of living. Faults in the calculations arise because calculations do not adjust...
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