Poverty as a Socioeconomic Issue

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Povertyas a Socioeconomic Issue


Socioeconomicstatus is often measured as a combination of occupation, educationand income. This status is actively involved in inequities when itcomes to distribution of resources. It also affects the overall humanfunctioning, for instance poor health. The lower class is one withlow status jobs, low income and low education while the underclassare people who are helpless and only rely on the public for help.

Povertyis a huge and complex social problem that though everything is beingdone to do away with it, from government programs nothing seems towork and we are often stuck with its frustrations. Poverty can bedefined as deprivation due to lack of both material and non-materialdeprivation. Poverty often leads to social exclusion as well as inequality in the society.

Povertyis said to be the most far reaching and long standing cause ofchronic suffering anxiety on the possibilities of falling intopoverty are eminent. For instance fear of being laid off in companiesdue to competitive changes may lead to one falling into poverty. MostAmericans between the ages of 25 and 75 spend at least one year belowthe poverty line. The war on poverty has been fought but still 15percent of the American population is poor. The US public thinks thatthere is a growing gap between the rich and the poor this is agrowing in equality that is a dangerous threat to nation as a whole.

Measuresof poverty

Povertyguidelines and poverty thresholds are both official measures that areused to determine the level of income needed to meet basic needs. Theguidelines determine eligibility of using certain federal programsand the thresholds do not vary geographically. Though there are manyways to measure poverty a holistic way of measurement is to look atthe household wealth and compare the investments and bank accounts.Economic gulf is created due to the lower class seeing stagnation intheir finances while the rich are seeing their assets grow andincrease in value.

Povertyis multifaceted and thus requires a wide range of solutions based onthe political economic and social processes that make peoples livingconditions unbearable. The lower class is loosely defined though itis at the end of the socioeconomic hierarchy. Colloquially, they areoften referred to as the working poor. On the other hand, theunderclasses are the poor who rely mostly on public assistance.

Absolutepoverty is where one lacks the basic needs over a long period of timewhich endangers one’s life while extreme poverty is a poverty line,the threshold that is used by the US census bureau to determine theincome an American must earn to meet their basic needs. Thedifference comes in where the urban residents of capital cities willhave access to energy, transportation and education while people inextreme poverty will be at risk of infections, malnutrition as wellas marginalization.

Lowerclass households are usually economic vulnerable and at a high riskof falling below the poverty line and when an individual falls belowthe poverty line, then one becomes eligible for public assistance.

Causesof Poverty

Thereare major causes of poverty in US which include among others pooreconomy weak economy has led to loss of jobs thus increase in theunemployment. Companies have had to make the tough decisions ofmoving overseas in bid to keep their businesses running or shuttingtheir doors. Unemployment affects both the individuals and theirfamilies which may lead them to a state of poverty.

Lackof affordable housing has also been an issue which renders manyfamilies homeless due to the high cost of housing. Lack of educationand high medical expenses are problems that have families led many topoverty. The lower class people cannot afford higher education thustheir job brackets are low paying. This slowly may drive a family topoverty (Banerjee, &amp Duflo, 2011).

Richsociety versus poor society

Poorpeople are more concentrated in inner cities and in the rural southof America this is due to lack of jobs. Companies are situated inthe suburban areas so as to take advantage of cheaper labor costs andfavorable laws. Additionally, the population living in the innercities has low level of education and are unskilled thus are notattractive to most employers.

Tothe rich society, it is a choice that one makes to either be poor orrich they believe that there is no reason one should die in povertywhile wealth is waiting for you. The rich perceives poverty as acondition that one can easily overcome. In any case, the rich thinkthat the poor are skeptical while the rich are trusting. In thiscase, the poor are of the opinion that everyone is out to get hislittle money. On the hand the rich give people chances to bethemselves and they have trust tendencies with the people they meet.

Accordingto research findings, the rich people think that the poor people haveit easy because they get benefits from the government without doinganything in return. Though some are of the opinion that governmentsupport does not suffice, most are of the opinion that poor get itall easy (Haveman,2008).

Inessence, it is clear that the rich society does not understand thepoor peoples’ attitude to life it is clear that over time thesociety has been divided into two groups. One group has wealth andpower while the other group is in poverty. In US, the gap betweenthese two groups has advanced in years which may ultimately lead tofading of the economic boom. According to studies conducted, upperincome families are way wealthier, almost seven times, than themiddle income families.

Consequencesof poverty

Thepoor class of people tend to have a shorter life span this has beenestablished as the case due to health problems with no medical,possibility of lack of food and so on. Some of the consequences ofpoverty include suffering from nutritional deficits and chronicstress, financial problems and increment in broken homes.

Inessence, poor people do not have any norms and values that can helpthem improve their living standards in this regard it hard for themto get out of this trap thus becoming a culture of poverty. Theattitudes that these families have, have led to desperation in such away that they are passed from generation to generation making it acycle of poverty with no change in the way things happen. The richsociety will always blame the poor for being poor because accordingto them, every individual has a chance to make change and get rich.

Ithas become very clear that many people do not know in which classthey belong to they only have vague ideas of their income based onthe tax income returns. This can be misleading as people think theyare in the middle class whereas they are having trouble paying theirmortgage and they live in outer fringes of the cities. For one toknow their class, one must be in a position to differentiate betweenperception and reality. It is also crucial to note that perception isrelative in that one could have suffered a financial set back at somepoint or one is young and just started life, thus he does not seehimself as poor because it could just be temporary.

Inconclusion, in terms of evaluating poverty, it is not arguable to saythat poverty starts with the mind peoples’ perceptions of theirstatus are important. If one sees themselves as poor then they maynot have the motivation to get out of that situation thus remains inthat status for a long time. In this regard, no single definition ofpoverty can befit all poor Americans, however, some categories ofpeople are at a higher chance of experiencing poverty than others.For instance, children are the most affected (Escarce,2003). In this case, some households have many children thus sharing thelittle they have among themselves is quite hard. These children arelikely to grow up poor and unless they change the situation afterthey are grown then that will be the family’s cycle because theyexperience difficulties in improving their living situations.

Therich-poor relations must also be enhanced so that the inequality gapis reduced significantly and the available resources used to benefitboth the rich and the poor without regard to the socioeconomicclasses.


Escarce,J. J. (2003). Socioeconomic status and the fates of adolescents.Healthservices research,38(5),1229.

Banerjee,A. V., &amp Duflo, E. (2011). Pooreconomics: A radical rethinking of the way to fight global poverty.(Poor economics.) New York: PublicAffairs.

Haveman,R. H. (2008). Whatdoes it mean to be poor in a rich society?.University of Wisconsin-Madison, Institute for Research on Poverty.