Poverty In America Jumps To Record High Under Obama
1-in-7 Americans are now considered to be in poverty, according to a report from the AP, based on upcoming census figures. 2009, Obama’s first year in office, saw a record jump in the poverty level from 13.2% to 15%. The poverty level is defined as living at $22,025 or below for a family of four. The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama’s watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.
Poverty is the lack of basic human needs, such as clean water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter, because of the inability to afford them. This is also referred to as absolute poverty or destitution. Relative poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or less income than others within a society or country, or compared to worldwide averages. About 1.7 billion people live in absolute poverty; before the industrial revolution, poverty had mostly been the norm. UNEMPLOYMENT JUMPS TO 9.6%
Poverty reduction has historically been a result of economic growth as increased levels of production, such as modern industrial technology, made more wealth available for those who were otherwise too poor to afford them. Also, investments in modernizing agriculture and increasing yields is considered the core of the antipoverty effort, given three-quarters of the world’s poor are rural farmers.
Today, continued economic development is constrained by the lack of economic freedoms. Economic liberalization includes extending property rights, especially to land, to the poor, and making financial services, notably savings, accessible. Inefficient institutions, corruption and political instability can also discourage investment. Aid and government support in health, education and infrastructure helps growth by increasing human and physical capital.
Poverty is usually measured as either absolute or relative poverty (the latter being actually an index of income inequality). Absolute poverty refers to a set standard which is consistent over time and between countries. The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than US $1.25 (PPP) per day, and moderate poverty as less than $2 a day. It estimates that “in 2001, 1.1 billion people had consumption levels below $1 a day and 2.7 billion lived on less than $2 a day.”
Relative poverty views poverty as socially defined and dependent on social context, hence relative poverty is a measure of income inequality. Usually, relative poverty is measured as the percentage of population with income less than some fixed proportion of median income. Executive Order 13544, Socialized Health Care
Under Obama, Child poverty has jumped from 19% to 20% and among the 18-64 demographic, the level jumped from 11.7% to 12.4%. People are so poor that they can’t even afford to bury their dead. The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama’s watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.
Census figures for 2009 — the recession-ravaged first year of the Democrat’s presidency — are to be released in the coming week, and demographers expect grim findings.
It’s unfortunate timing for Obama and his party just seven weeks before important elections when control of Congress is at stake. The anticipated poverty rate increase — from 13.2 percent to about 15 percent — would be another blow to Democrats struggling to persuade voters to keep them in power.
“The most important anti-poverty effort is growing the economy and making sure there are enough jobs out there,” Obama said Friday at a White House news conference. He stressed his commitment to helping the poor achieve middle-class status and said, “If we can grow the economy faster and create more jobs, then everybody is swept up into that virtuous cycle.”
Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC)
Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008 (P60-236)
- Report » [PDF - 3M]
- Press Release »
- Highlights »
- Tables & Figures »
- Detailed Tables »
- Historical Tables »
- Source and Accuracy » [PDF - 429k]
Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage reports and data from previous years.
Research has found that there is a high risk of educational underachievement for children who are from low-income housing circumstances. This often is a process that begins in primary school for some less fortunate children. In the US educational system, these children are at a higher risk than other children for retention in their grade, special placements during the school’s hours and even not completing their high school education. There are indeed many explanations for why students tend to drop out of school. For children with low resources, the risk factors are similar to excuses such as juvenile delinquency rates, higher levels of teenage pregnancy, and the economic dependency upon their low income parent or parents.
Families and society who submit low levels of investment in the education and development of less fortunate children end up with less favorable results for the children who see a life of parental employment reduction and low wages. Higher rates of early childbearing with all the connected risks to family, health and well-being are majorly important issues to address since education from preschool to high school are both identifiably meaningful in a life.
Poverty often drastically affects children’s success in school. A child’s “home activities, preferences, mannerisms” must align with the world and in the cases that they do not these students are at a disadvantage in the school and most importantly the classroom. Therefore, it is safe to state that children who live at or below the poverty level will have far less success educationally than children who live above the poverty line. Poor children have a great deal less healthcare and this ultimately results in many absences from the academic year. Additionally, poor children are much more likely to suffer from hunger, fatigue, irritability, headaches, ear infections, flu, and colds. These illnesses could potentially restrict a child or student’s focus and concentration.
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