CauseCast.org article “Ten Things You Should Know About Poverty In America”

Ten Things You Should Know About Poverty In America by SARAH NELSON, Contributing Writer

posted on CauseCast.org

The overwhelming statistics of global poverty often overshadow the very real issue of poverty in America. With the collapse of the housing market and a painfully stagnant economy, millions of Americans are facing hunger, homelessness and unrelenting debt. Just like the billions of global citizens trapped in poverty around the world, impoverished Americans often find themselves oppressed by a cycle that makes it difficult to break free.

  1. Poverty and homelessness are not synonymous, meaning that the poor are not always homeless. Poverty can leave an individual or an entire family without adequate housing, food, access to heath care, education and employment.
  2. There are more than 40 million Americans living below the poverty threshold. The largest percentage of impoverished Americans are between the ages of 25 and 44.
  3. Approximately 14 million Americans living in poverty are children – that's about 19 percent of all American children.
  4. Across the country, 30 million American families face housing deficiency. About half of those dealing with housing deficiency issues qualify for government aid, but only 4.1 million are actually receiving it.
  5. Poverty can lead to housing concerns like overcrowding or other inadequacies. One of every seven poor families lack a vital housing component, such as electricity, hot water or access to a toilet or shower.
  6. In 2009, approximately 32.2 million Americans were enrolled to receive food stamps. In 2010, that number climbed to 40 million and is expected to continue growing. Experts predict 43 million Americans will be facing food insecurity by 2011.
  7. The official measurement of poverty is determined by the U.S. Census Bureau. The threshold is adjusted for inflation annually, but the methodology used to calculate the poverty threshold (or the amount of cash income required to support an individual or family) has not been updated in more than 40 years.
  8. For a single person under the age of 65, the poverty threshold is an annual income of $10,836. In the state of California, a person who works full-time at a minimum wage job will make just over $15,000. That's before taxes.
  9. In 2009, more than 3 million Americans lost their homes to foreclosure. Experts suggest that the housing recession will force an additional 1.5 million people into homelessness by 2011.
  10. While poverty in America shows up in every state, nearly every city and spans urban and rural communities, American minorities are much more likely to live in poverty. In 2008, black and Hispanic families made up approximately two-thirds of America's poor, while white families only accounted for about 12 percent.

Original article URL - http://www.causecast.org/news_items/9807-ten-things-you-should-know-about-poverty-in-america