Social Work, Poverty & Homeless

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Poverty and Homeless
March 20, 2012
Poverty and Homeless

Poverty
Poverty can be defined in several ways and can mean different things to people of different societies. Absolute poverty is to have inadequate funds to provide a minimum standard of living for oneself or one’s family. Relative poverty is defined as doing worse off financially than the average person in a given society. Persons living in relative poverty may have no car, no television, and no toys for their children but have enough money for clothing, food and shelter. Relative to the average Americans, they are living poorly. A person or family living in absolute poverty, on the other hand, may not have enough money to pay for the rent or groceries for the month. These different ways of defining poverty are debated by government officials and researchers. How poverty is defined is integral to the task of reducing its prevalence in society.

Statistics
With 18.2% (U.S. Census, 2006-2008) of people in the United States are living below the poverty level, it is increasingly important that the government should take measures regarding this context. Poverty thresholds or income levels is dependent on the number of family members. Poverty in United States of America is unique in nature with 13-17% Americans live below the poverty line in America. Although extreme poverty is virtually nonexistent in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, national measures indicate the presence of economic deprivation. For example, in the United States in 2006, 38.8 million people, or 13.3% of the population, fell below the federal poverty line (Fields, 2000). In the United States, the poverty threshold was established in 1965 based on the cost of food, taking into account household size and composition but making no adjustment for regional differences in cost of living. The threshold is adjusted annually for inflation. For example, in 2007, the federal poverty...
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