Poverty has always been with us from beggars outside the gates of Jerusalem to the mentally ill homeless woman in the park. America is known for our huge difference in culture and class. This is due partly to the dynamics behind the political decisions of this country. The president himself admits that America is more unequal than it’s been since the great depression and many of his own supporters say he has failed. America now has, by many standards, the lowest social mobility of all of the high-end countries, meaning that a child born into poverty is likely to grow up as a poor adult. This is surprising for a country that not only prides itself as being a middle class society, but as the society where anyone can make it and where social mobility is so high. In some places now, it is hard to believe that America is an economic giant. “One in four young children lives in poverty in the richest nation on earth.” (Kindle, 2012) This is a fact that goes unnoticed by most Americans. Poverty in America has become a circular phenomenon and it has been shown to affect certain communities while it breezes by others.
The Poverty Line
“Some 46 million Americans live in poverty. That is the third highest poverty rate among developed nations, ahead only of Turkey and Mexico.” (Kindle, 2012) We might then ask, what is poverty? Where is the poverty line? For 63% of Americans, ages 16 and over, working is a necessity. From working entry level jobs in retail and fast food, jobs in manufacturing and farming, to banking and health care. These similarities, however, end there. This becomes quite apparent especially when it comes to hours worked and their compensation. For example, the average entry level wage in New Mexico is $8.02 an hour or $16,673 a year, before taxes. As opposed to an experienced worker or a college educated one, $22.93 an hour or $47,692 a year. This is lower than the national level of $17,867 annual for an entry level job and $66,248 for the experienced
Bibliography: Iceland, JohnPoverty in America: A Handbook, with a 2012 Preface. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2012.
Ross, Arthur M., and Herbert Hill. Employment, Race, and Poverty. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967. Print.