Poverty In the United States

Aubrey Picco

A Little On How Our Government Works..

What is the Poverty Line/Threshold?

- Estimates the number of Americans in poverty each year

What is welfare?

- Welfare a social effort to help and promote basic material and physical well-beings of individuals in need

What is an income gap?

- How income is distributed unevenly among a population

What is an unemployment Rate?

- The currency of unemployment

What is underemployment?

- An individual with a job that does not make full use of their skills and abilities

Discouraged Workers - An individual of legal employment age who is actively not seeking employment or has not been employed after long-term unemployment

The Types Of Welfare Programs

Social Security:

Provides monetary assistance to people with an inadequate or no income. Social security benefits are funded by a dedicated payroll tax paid by the worker and the worker’s employer and by taxes paid by a self employed person. Depending on when you’re born, it determines how many years of work you need to qualify for benefits.


A federal health insurance program for people who are 65 years of age or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with ESRD. medicare is funded by general revenues (41%), payroll taxes (38%), and beneficiary premiums (13%). If you’re under age 65, you will qualify for medicare if you have ESRD, or if you have received SSDI payments for 24 months.


A social health care program for families and individuals with low income and limited resources. Medicaid is funded by the federal government and states. The federal government pays states for a specified percentage of program expenditures, called the FMAP. to qualify for medicaid, you have to be below a certain income level.


TANF is temporary assistance for needy families. States must spend state funds on programs for needy families as a condition of receiving the federal TANF block grant. To qualify you must be pregnant or have a child under the age of 19 who lives with you, be a US citizen or meet certain immigration requirements, and you must develop a plan for becoming self sufficient and follow it.

Food Stamps:

A food stamp is a voucher issued by the government to those on low income, exchangeable for food. Food stamps are funded by the ETB which replaces paper coupons through a use of a benefits card. To get SNAP benefits, households must meet certain tests, including resource and income tests: resources, income, deductions, etc.

Subsidized Housing:

A government sponsored economic assistance program aimed towards alleviating housing costs and expenses for people in need with low to moderate income.

The Current United States Poverty Statistics

What is the poverty rates in the U.S?

- In 2010 the poverty rate was the highest since 1993 at 15.1%

* Children poverty - 22%

* Single Mothers in Poverty - 60% of children that are single parents are impoverished

* African Americans - 27.4, Hispanics - 26.6%

What are 10 of the biggest challenges people in Poverty face?

  1. Lack higher education

  2. Lack full year employment

  3. Health constraints

  4. Less likely to be two parent families

  5. Less access to health care

  6. Many hurdles with trying to get out of poverty

  7. Medical problems influence incapability to get a financially stable job

  8. Lack of basic resources (food, shelter, water etc)

  9. Trouble with insurance (health, life, car)

  10. Trouble with debt

What is Poverty? What counts as being in poverty?

  • Poverty is defined as not accumulating enough income for the resources required for the standard of living of the individual, family etc

So then what is “Getting By”?

- "Getting by" is for an indiviudal to continue in a state where you have a lack of resources but enough to meet the standards of living

What factors contribute to poverty/affect individuals in poverty?

Factors like ones race, gender, education and family situations can impact ones financial situation.

  • Race - Jobs can discriminate towards races, sadly enough as it is, it is still a reality
  • Gender - Just as race, a job or employer can discriminate against a gender. For example a job can be looked at as a "man's" job and women aren't considered fit for the position
  • Single Parent - Only have one source of income coming into the house that could or could not be enough for them and their kids together
  • Education - lower education can make it more difficult for someone to get a higher paying career/job or high student debt and education debt can be difficult to pay off

Poverty by Choice or by Chance?

Poverty by choice is defined as having the resources for a job but choosing not to be employed and go take advantage of welfare programs. While poverty by chance is chance is situations like being born into a low income family, not enough money for higher education, medical/physical problems, medical/family emergencies, laid off a job, car accident, natural disasters.

Are There Issues with Welfare Programs?

Yes, there are issues surrounding welfare programs. One of the biggest is that some people choose to not be employed or be employed by a low paying job so they don’t have to work and will use Welfare programs as their source of money.