Poverty In America Essay

Poverty In America Essay-87
Even in the TANF program, over half the adult beneficiaries are idle on the rolls and are not engaged in activities leading to self-sufficiency.Work requirements are nonexistent in closely related programs such as food stamps and public housing.

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For most Americans, the word "poverty" suggests destitution: an inability to provide a family with nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter. The average "poor" person, as defined by the government, has a living standard far higher that the public imagines.

But only a small number of the 37 million persons classified as "poor" by the Census Bureau fit that description. The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports: As a group, America's poor are far from being chronically undernourished.

For example, around sixty percent of poor households have cell phones and a third have telephone answering machines, but, at the other extreme, approximately one-tenth have no phone at all. Studies of "relative poverty" are therefore misleading. history, the education level of immigrants was equal to, or greater than, that of non-immigrants.

While the majority of poor households do not experience significant material problems, roughly a third do experience at least one problem during the year such as overcrowding, temporary food shortages, or difficulty getting medical care. These studies are flawed because they employ the concept of "relative poverty". This means the real income needed to be judged "non-poor" in the U. For example, using a relative poverty measure, Poland is found to have less poverty than the U. In fact, the real incomes of individuals at the bottom of the income distribution in Poland are only third of the incomes of similar Americans. How can Poland realistically be said to have less poverty than the U. Similarly, when the relative poverty concept is applied to states within the U. Today's immigrants are disproportionately poorly educated. This occurs because illegal immigration primarily attracts low skill workers and the legal immigration system favors kinship ties over skill levels. The steady influx of low skill (without a high school degree) and semi-skilled (with only a high school degree) immigrants inevitably leads to increases in the number of poor persons in the U. Low and semi-skilled immigrants and their families now comprise almost one fifth of all poor persons in the U. While there is a common myth that immigrants use little welfare, in reality, immigrants are heavy users of welfare services.

The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage Foundation. In FY2008, federal, state and local governments will spend $679 billion on means-tested welfare programs. have substantially higher poverty rates than non-immigrants. Last year, 38 percent of American children were born out-of-wedlock, mainly to poorly educated young adult women.

Means-tested welfare programs provide: cash, food, housing, free or subsidized medical care, and targeted social services to poor and low income Americans. Point #5 The major cause of child poverty in the U. Children born and raised outside marriage are about seven times more likely to live in poverty than are children born to and raised by a married couple. The second major cause is of child poverty is consistent low levels of parental work. [4] For most Americans, the word "poverty" suggests destitution: an inability to provide a family with nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter.Specifically, the lowest income tenth of families in the U. has a higher disposable income than the lowest income tenth in: France, Sweden, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Spain, Italy, Israel, Greece, and Portugal. Each year roughly 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants enter and take up residence in the U. Welfare expenditures would rise even more strongly if illegal immigrants are granted amnesty and eventual access to the welfare system. In good economic times or bad, the typical poor family with children is supported by only 800 hours of work during a year: That amounts to 16 hours of work per week.Current immigration inflows operate against normal social goals and policies. If work in each family were raised to 2,000 hours per year--the equivalent of one adult working 40 hours per week through the year--nearly 75 percent of poor children would be lifted out of official poverty.[12] The key to increasing parental work is to set up work requirements attached to welfare benefits received by poor families.But, increasing parental work can dramatically reduce child poverty.To accomplish this, TANF work requirements should be strengthened and new work requirements should be established for able-bodied, non-working adults receiving food stamp or housing benefits. Out-of-wedlock births commonly occur to the least educated women in society.While real material hardship certainly does occur, it is limited in scope and severity. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms.Most of America's "poor" live in material conditions that would be judged as comfortable or well-off just a few generations ago. By his own report, his family is not hungry and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family's essential needs. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100 percent above recommended levels.Cross National Comparisons of Persons with Low Income Many studies show that the U. Typically, a family is judged to be in "relative poverty" if its income is less than half the median family income in the nation where it lives. has a substantially higher median family income than most European nations, the poverty bar is set higher for the U. Median family income in Poland is only about a quarter of the U. S., Arkansas is found to have little poverty while Massachusetts has a lot. Analysis that compares low income persons across nations by a single uniform standard produces different results.[9] For example, the real disposable income of the least affluent tenth of the U. population can be compared to the real incomes of similar groups in European and other advanced nations. bottom incomes are lower than such incomes in Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and Luxembourg. As result, one third of all adult immigrants lack a high school degree, compared to only nine percent of non-immigrants.[11] There is a common misconception that the low education levels of recent immigrants are part of a permanent historical pattern, and that the U. has always admitted immigrants who were poorly educated relative to the native born population. In FY 2008, low and semi-skilled immigrants received some billion in means-tested welfare aid. immigration policy should encourage high-skill immigration and strictly limit poverty-generating low-skill immigration. Specifically, immigration policy should seek to substantially reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the U. and to increase the skill level of future legal immigrants.Since median family incomes differ widely between nations, the "relative poverty" concept sets the "poverty bar" at different heights for different nations. Such analysis shows that the lowest income Americans have the same or higher incomes when compared to similar groups in most advanced nations. are roughly equal to those in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, and Canada. Critically, the median family income is substantially higher in the U. than in all European countries except Luxembourg.[10] (See charts 1 and 2.) Stop Importing Poverty and Welfare Dependence America is currently experiencing near record levels of immigration. This high level of welfare receipt is especially striking since many in this group are illegal immigrants currently barred from welfare use. In gen­eral, government policy should limit immigration to those who will be net fiscal contributors, avoiding those who will increase poverty and impose new costs on overburdened U. To accomplish this, the government should: Reducing Child Poverty by Increasing Parental Work Low levels of parental work are a major factor contributing to child poverty.Because of these biased methods, many Americans are deemed "poor" when, in fact, they have higher real incomes than persons identified as "non-poor" in Europe. However, survey data show that nutriment density (amount of vitamins, minerals, and protein per kilocalorie of food) does not vary by income class.[6] Nor do the poor consume higher-fat diets than do the middle class; the percentage of persons with high fat intake (as a share of total calories) is virtually the same for low-income and upper-middle-income persons.[7] Over-consumption of calories in general, however, is a major problem among the poor, as it is within the general U. population.[8] On the other hand, the living conditions of the average poor American should not be taken as representing all the poor.By contrast, if a fair, uniform standard of comparison is used, the lowest income tenth of the U. population is found to have a real income that is roughly equal to, or higher than, most European nations. There is actually a wide range in living conditions among the poor.


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