Major Causes of Poverty in the USA

Poverty is a complex, versatile, and multifaceted phenomenon that is often associated with insufficient amounts of economic resources that lead to devastating influences on individuals and society, including development of street crime, especially robbery and homicide, high victimization rates, failure to socialize and maintain healthy intimate relations, unsatisfactory standard of living, threatening impacts on physical health and emotional well-being, and many others. However, alleviation of poverty focuses on the urgent need to identify its root causes that make people poor. The current paper aims to shed light on the most fundamental causes of poverty in the USA. In addition, much attention will be paid to the most reasonable, acceptable, and peaceful tactics and strategies that will ensure a unique opportunity to eliminate poverty in the USA.

Despite there is no universal definition of the term poverty, most researchers who explore poverty and its unprecedented consequences share the views that poverty should be viewed as a general scarcity associated with a lack of money or material possessions. However, the researchers differentiate two main subdivisions of poverty, including absolute and relative. Absolute poverty, that is often referred to as destitution, deals with inadequate amounts of many resources, including food, clothing, and shelter, that deprive people of the opportunity to meet their basic needs. On the contrary, relative poverty focuses on social and economic status of people in the USA compared to the rest of society. For instance, poverty in the USA is not as apparent and flagrant as indigence on the territory of India or Africa where significant percentage of people have no food to eat and even no safe water to drink. However, poverty in the USA is not a myth but a severe reality that leads to negative impacts that have adverse effects of health and well-being of people. According to the results of statistical data, approximately 15% of the U.S. population is counted as poor people due to a variety of reasons. Moreover, researchers provide convincing evidence that minority populations, disabled individuals, and people who reside in rural areas are at the increased risks of being affected by poverty.


The researchers who investigate factors that boost poverty differentiate a vast scope of economic, social, political, and, finally, medical factors that contribute to progression of poverty in the USA. To begin with, lack of affordable housing, low incomes, and, finally, intolerable medical services are three main economic causes of poverty in the USA. Lack of affordable housing is one of the most pressing issues that affects lives of thousands of people in the USA. Statistics indicates that above 3, 5 million individuals of different age groups experience homelessness annually. Homelessness is a chronic problem in the USA that contributes to poverty because the gap between monthly earnings and extremely high cost of housing is expanding, and leaves thousands of families and individuals in the USA to scratch along. Lack of affordable housing that drastically increases the percentage of homeless individuals is a serious threat associated with poverty that negatively influences all domains of people’s lives. According to the information provided by the National Low Income Housing Coalition that pursues a mission of enabling individuals with low incomes in the USA to have affordable housing, governmental agencies should increase funds for development of effective programs that will increase housing opportunities of families and communities in the USA. Considerably low work rates and wages are another economic factors that promote poverty in the USA because of unemployment and low incomes people fail to afford such basic necessities as a decent housing, healthy food, and, finally, high-quality health care services. Finally, lack of affordable medical care is also included to the list of common economic causes of poverty because the cost of health care services has increased dramatically over the last decade and is beyond reach for families with low or even middle incomes. Thus, for numerous individuals and families that have no opportunity to afford health insurance, a chronic disease or injury is usually financially devastating and almost impossible.

There is a variety of political factors that contribute to the development of poverty in the USA. To begin with, considerable cuts in federal assistance for effective housing programs and well-developed social services contribute to the increase in the rates of homelessness. Taking into account historical experience, during 1950s-1960s, well-developed housing programs by the federal government of the USA have successfully managed to eradicate poverty. However, failure of the government to promote housing programs and social services leads to the increased poverty among populations in the USA. Numerous sanctions, harsh work requirements, time limits, and severe immigrant restrictions are many other political forces that contribute to poverty. Immigrants and undocumented migrants are classified as vulnerable populations who are often affected by numerous political forces that promote poverty.

While several economic forces are the main factors that contribute to homelessness and poverty, a variety of such long-term issues like mental illnesses, poor quality of education, addictions, high divorce rates, and, finally, family composition are critically important. A combination of vast technological advancements and accelerated rates of globalization have resulted in high-quality education being the most influential determinant of profitable employment opportunities for millions of Americans. Despite the attempts of all presidents of the USA, including George Bush and Barack Obama, to increase the quality of education in order to eliminate poverty, poor quality of education and unequal access to education still influence employment opportunities of people. Scholars assure that poverty and education are inextricably linked because education is considered the be the primary mean of social mobility that ensures a chance to people born in poverty to increase their social status in society. In addition, unhappy marriage and divorce are fundamental forces that promote poverty. Statistics proves that non-intact families increase the chance of children to experience poverty in their adulthood. Thus, there is a large amount of economic, political, and social factors that promote poverty among populations in the USA. Despite elimination of poverty seems almost impossible, ending poverty in the USA is critically important because poverty alleviation will boost economic development and contribute to the increased standard of living of people in America.

The opinions of the researchers concerning why elimination of poverty in America is a tough task drastically differ. On the one land, ignorance of people who are responsible for poverty reduction is the main reason why poverty is still a pressing issue in the USA. On the other hand, lack of resources is considered to be another important reason that is associated with the devastating consequences of poverty on people. However, there are many poverty reduction strategies for the USA. Regardless of the fact that the level of poverty in the USA has declined since the 20th century, there is more work to do. On the basis of the report provided by the Census Bureau that assesses the tight link between the levels of annual income and poverty, above 46,5 million people in the USA face numerous financial hardships associated with poverty.

To begin with, international development effort is the first effective reduction strategy that will have a positive impact on significant decrease in poverty rates. Researchers claim that federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations should refocus their tactics purposed to eliminate poverty, increase their commitment, and absolutely transform lives of people in America. The government of the USA should work together as a single force because governmental actions can decrease as well as increase poverty rates in the USA. In addition, much attention should be paid to new priorities in challenging times that will focus attention of providing assistance to the poor.

Because women, people living in rural areas, and minority populations are at increased risks to suffer from poverty because they have poor access to employment and fail to have high-quality medical assistance, government of the USA should tackle these inequalities. Populations living in poverty should remain the priority for the government, and these groups of people should be provided with sufficient amounts of financial resources that will ensure a chance to reduce poverty. Moreover, significant increase in employment opportunities is one of the most effective strategies that will ensure a chance to eradicate poverty because employment not only reduces poverty but also leads to many other social and economic benefits, including increase in financial security, higher living standards, stimulation of economic activities, increased spending, decreased crime rates, elimination of inequality among people, and better education that is vitally important for physical health and emotional well-being of people.

Thus, it is possible to infer that poverty is one of the most long-standing, challenging, and complicated problems that results in numerous complex consequences. Despite poverty in the USA is not obvious as it is in India or Africa, it wrecks lives of millions of people in this country. The most common economic, political, and social causes of poverty are political ignorance, poor employment opportunities, high divorce rates, low quality of education, various addictions, physical and mental disabilities, unhappy marriages, discrimination, and many others. Elimination of poverty is of utmost importance because it gives the chance to fight poverty, foster economic recovery, and avoid many other challenges that affect health and welfare of every person in the USA.

Feb 8, 2020 in Research
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