Dubbed as the most powerful and one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the United States (US) continues to enjoy the benefits of being classified as a first world country. In this regard, it boasts of higher standards of living than most countries. However, despite its economic status, poverty is a reality that persistently haunts the US.
These figures imply that there are about 37 million people well below the poverty threshold as at end-2004.
In view of the above, steps on how to alleviate poverty in the country must be efficiently programmed. In order to address the heart of this matter, legislators and private sector should have an understanding of key issues regarding poverty and the poor people in the US. The lives of those people bordering or below the poverty line are controlled by myriad factors which should be taken into consideration. This paper provides an overview of the profile of poor people and discusses how economic and social factors such as availability of job opportunities, prevailing wage levels, single parenthood, level of education, housing, health, mental illness and substance abuse among others affect the poor in America.
The poverty line is defined by the Census Bureau as a threshold level of total money income, which includes wages and salaries, self-employment income, interest income, social security and welfare benefits, alimony and unemployment compensation, received by all family members on an annual basis. The threshold set varies depending on the number of adults and children in the family.
As at end-2004, a family with two parents and two children required $19,157 to be above poverty line. ...