U. S. Census- percentage and Number of People in Poverty There are two types of poverty: absolute poverty and relative poverty. To be in relative poverty a person must only have a certain amount less than most peop

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Austen Paulsen

English 2010


America’s Abandoned Underclass

“As America is the wealthiest and most bountiful nation in the world, it is no surprise that many Americans think of hunger and poverty occurring only in developing countries” (RESULTS). Most people in the United States are aware of huge problems with poverty in other countries, but they rarely recognize the severity of this issue in America. A large, unseen portion of the United States’ population is living in poverty and this has been true throughout the history of this country. Although not all of the people in the United States that are living in poverty need assistance, those that are living in absolute poverty need the government to step in and provide an escape from poverty.

Facts About Poverty

In 2007 there were 37,300,000 people living under the poverty line in the United States. The poverty rate in the U.S. has been around 15 percent of the population for decades (U.S. Census). This problem has faced people around the world for centuries and it has always been a problem in the United States. John Iceland, a professor of Sociology and Demography, described poverty: “While poverty generally refers to material deprivation, it is a multifaceted experience for those who are struggling to get by” (qtd. in Sloan Work and Family Research Network). When people are living in poverty they are commonly unable to afford sufficient food, water and shelter for themselves and their families. When people live without these necessities their immune systems are weakened and they can easily become sick or even die.

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