Erica Brown Cambridge IGCSE Global Perspectives Mr. Densmore What is poverty doing to our world and how can we fix it? Poverty is one of the biggest issues in our world right now. It has affected millions of families and it is not getting any better. When you think of poverty in most cases, you think of third world countries, but when watching the news and talking to friends, I realized that this problem is not only global but also local.
My question was, how is poverty measured? How can someone make a decent living and still fall in the poverty category? According to an article written by Will Engelhardt and Curtis Skinner in 2013, the measuring tool used by the United States in the 1960s is outdated. They said, to better understand poverty and find the best strategies to reduce it, states and localities need to know who is poor, why they are poor, and what policies work best for different groups.
They go on to say, several states and localities have taken the lead in developing new measures of poverty that more accurately account for the resources available to their residents as well as their needs. Supported by a strong body of innovative research from the federal government and public policy research organizations, these new measures not only more accurately gauge the level of poverty but offer a cost-effective way to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs. Improved poverty measurement also helps policymakers identify effective new programs to assist vulnerable populations in meeting their families’ often-pressing needs.In the 1960’s, the official poverty rate is determined by comparing a family’s pre-tax cash income to an income poverty threshold. If a family’s income falls below this threshold, they are considered poor. The research states this determination was not accurate because, On the needs side, it fails to consider the growing burden of nondiscretionary expenses for such necessities as housing, childcare, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and transportation. Nor does it account for variations in the cost of living based on geographic location.In 1995, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) made detailed recommendations on how poverty in America might be more accurately measured. Here’s a visual representation of how poverty is currently measured.Poverty on a local scaleI did some research to find out what the poverty rate was in South Carolina. What I found is listed below and has not been updated. The information I found was posted in 2018. According to the site:Population: 4,882,720Number in Poverty: 751,907 (2017) Overall, ranked 42ndPercentage of people who had incomes below the poverty line ($24,860 for a family of four) Children, ranked 45thPercentage of children under 18 in related families who had incomes below the poverty line in 2017 22.3%,Working-Age Women, ranked 42ndPercentage of working-age women (ages 18-64) who had incomes below the poverty line in 2017 16.4%According to the research it wasn’t really stated what percentage of men fell below the poverty line it only stated, Working-Age Men, ranked 42nd, and I did not want to assume or make a judgement. The research later states how the races compare in South Carolina.African American- 24.3% Asian American- 12.7% Latino- 26.5% Native American- 32.4% White- 11.2% When looking at this information compared to that of the world, we might think we are not that bad. But we know we have a lot of students who’s only meal comes from what they receive at school. When I watch tv I see a lot of commercials where stars are asking for help with donating money to help feed hungry children. I also know of several organizations that offer meal deliveries to what we consider poor families. My church and other churches have set up food pantries and local organizations have days where volunteers go out and feed the poor or help in soup kitchens.Poverty on a National ScaleAt the national level, the United States, poverty is measured by comparing a person’s or family’s income to a set poverty threshold or minimum amount of income needed to cover basic needs. People whose income falls under their threshold are considered poor. The U.S. Census Bureau is the government agency in charge of measuring poverty. To do so, it uses two main measures, the official poverty measure and the Supplemental Poverty Measure. The Census Bureau determines poverty status by using an official poverty measure (OPM) that compares pre-tax cash income against a threshold that is set at three times the cost of a minimum food diet in 1963 and adjusted for family size. In 2016, the most recent year for which data are available, the OPM national poverty rate was 12.7 percent. There were 40.6 million people in poverty. In this article it sates there are 50 million people in the United States currently living in poverty, which is a lot since this is the country everyone comes to in order to escape poverty.Poverty on a Global ScaleAccording to the website, Action Against Hunger, around the world, 767 million people live in extreme poverty with less than $1.90 per person per day, an amount which is impossible to support a healthy livelihood in any part of the world.Doing research, I found another website called FINCA. According to this website to understand the scope of what half the world’s population face, here is what poverty looks like, in numbers:3 billion people live on less than $2.50 per day, including 1.2 billion people in extreme poverty who live on less than $1.25 per day.About 75% of the world’s poor populations live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihood.In developing countries, the poor spend 60-80% of their income on food. Americans spend less than 10%.Over 800 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat and 3 million children die from malnutrition each year.Approximately 1.2 billion people live without electricity.40 million children worldwide live without adequate shelter.More than 750 million people lack adequate access to clean water.270 million children have no access to health servicesNearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read or write.2 billion people do not have a bank account or access to basic financial services.What are the Causes and Effects of Poverty?It’s hard to say what causes poverty. Yes, there’s a system put in place by NAS that measures poverty but in my opinion when you have more bills than money you are considered poor. Unemployment and a lack of education can cause one to become poor. Drugs and teen pregnancy can also be a factor of poverty.According to Oxfam, poverty is about power, not scarcity. The richest country in the world should be able to sustain an economy that is healthy and fair. People who are willing and able to work at a full-time job should be able to earn enough money to support their families and have opportunities to climb the ladder out of poverty.When families are desperate and are wanting to care for the families, it causes people to do things they wouldn’t normally do. According to the site Action Against Hunger, here are the effects of poverty on a global perspective:767 million people, or 10.7 percent of the population, live in extreme poverty with less than $1.90 per day.2.1 billion people live on less than $3.10 per day.328 million children are living in extreme poverty.At least 17 million children suffer from severe acute undernutrition around the world. Severe acute malnutrition is the direct cause of death for 1 million children every year.Every single day, 1,000 children under 5 die from illnesses like diarrhea, dysentery, and cholera caused by contaminated water and inadequate sanitation.Extreme poverty data are as follows:383 Million in Africa327 Million in Asia19 Million in South America13 Million in North America2.5 Million in Oceania0.7 Million in EuropeConclusionMy views on poverty did not change much, this report mainly confirmed my opinion towards poverty. I don’t agree with the idea of poverty in developed countries such as the united states. I feel like the government wants people to be in these situations, so they have ways to monopolize. I feel like the government is keeping money away from these people in need and they keep health care bills very high that they should have enough money to give these people a small home or a small job so at least they can take care of their families. I understand that sometimes its bigger than that like in situations that involve drugs but even if they want help rehab is also very expensive, so they are unable to get the help they need.Works CitedEngelhardt, W and Skinner C. Knowing What Works States and Cities Build Smarter Social Policy with New and Improved Poverty Measurement, Apr. 2013. National Center for Children in Poverty. Accessed May 29, 2019.Talk Poverty, Center for American Process, 2017. Accessed May 29, 2019 INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH ON POVERTY, UNIVERSITY of WISCONSIN”MADISON. Accessed May 29, 2019.Poverty in the USA. Oxfam. Accessed May 29, 2019.Global Poverty and Hunger: Take Action. Action Against Hunger. Accessed May 29, 2019.World Poverty. FINCA. Accessed May 29, 2019.