Poverty in the U.S.

Post- 1865

Women, Settlements, and Poverty

During the "Progressive Era", which is from about 1900-1920, was a time of major reforms in the economy, politics, and social constructs. A huge driving force that pushed the change is women, as they created associations to make them more relevant and heard in society.


The article talks about advocating forming "settlement houses", as they were set in private non-profit organizations in poor neighborhoods to encourage social welfare amongst its residents.


In cities like New York and Chicago, these residents were occupied by poor immigrants that came to work in American factories. One of the most famous settlements is Chicago's Hull House founded by Jane Addams who was a social pioneer for the movement, and New York's Henry Street Settlement that was established by a nurse named Lillian Wald.


These women who encouraged social structure, saw poverty in a different way. How it is up to the people who are well-off and educated to distinguish the problems in poverty.

Causes of poverty

Poverty in the US was a very serious problem in the early 20th century, especially in the large, over crowded, immigrant flooded, cities like New York. In 1911, the New York Times released a set of statistics related to poverty and its causes. They found that these 10 factors are the most common causes of poverty


1. Unemployment - 60.16%

2. Overcrowding - 44.68%

3. Widowhood - 20.44%

4. Chronic physical disability other than tuberculosis - 27.30%

5. Temporary physical disability other than accident - 19.68%

6. More than three children under 14 - 18.88%

7. Intemperance - 16.66%

8. Less than 5 years in New York City - 16.28%

9. Tuberculosis - 12.88%

10. Desertion and persistent non-support - 12.12%

Many of these reasons would be drastically different today, however some of them are certainly still the same. Unemployment is currently one of the biggest problems the US is currently facing.