Saturday, October 03, 2015

What does it mean to live in poverty in the US?

Comparatively different to the rest of the world (DailySignal):

According to the government’s own reports, the typical American defined as poor by the Census Bureau has a car, air conditioning, and cable or satellite TV. Half of the poor have computers, 43 percent have Internet, and 40 percent have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV.

Far from being overcrowded, poor Americans have more living space in their home than the average non-poor person in Western Europe. Some 42 percent of all poor households actually own their own homes; on average, this is a well-maintained three-bedroom house with one and a half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 4 percent of poor children were hungry for even a single day in the prior year because the family could not afford food. By its own report, the average poor person had sufficient funds to meet all essential needs and was able to obtain medical care for his family throughout the year whenever needed.
Seeing the poor as a monolithic block sets poverty reduction policies up for failure, argues Robert L. Woodson Sr. from Heritage (DailySignal):
Over the past 10 years, in spite of massive and growing funding of America’s anti-poverty agenda, the percentage of individuals able to support themselves free of government welfare has declined. The fundamental reason the nation has failed to effectively reduce dependency and promote self-sufficiency is that we’ve been misdiagnosing poverty.

People experience poverty for varied reasons. Remedies for poverty should take this diversity into account. Through my experience with the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise and the nearly 3,000 community groups working in low-income neighborhoods it has served, I have come to understand that there are typically four basic categories of the poor.
Read it all.

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