A system based on free market economics makes it difficult for the most vulnerable to gradually move forward towards greater security. Farm workers who must perform physically demanding work on minimal wages cannot continue to work forever and this means that a need exists to find ways for trying to ensure that individuals can meet their needs to retire in dignity. This essay presents a discussion about poverty in rural America to conclude that perhaps efforts to stimulate entrepreneurship that is personalised and tailor made for individuals using community funds by empowered local leadership may work better. Tax credits, temporary financial assistance and allocation of low paying but draining jobs to poor individuals have failed to present lasting solutions for improving the lot of the rural poor in America and elsewhere.
The term ‘poverty’ refers to a lack of income or other resources needed for maintaining a minimally acceptable standard of living (Goreham, 572 – 573). According to the previously mentioned author, poverty in the United States of America has often been associated with urban slums and ghettos, but historically and today, poverty in the United States of America is far more prevalent in the rural areas compared to the urban areas of the country. According to the United States Census Bureau, about 13% of the total population of the United States of America, about 37 million people, lived below the poverty line in the year 2005 (GAO, 1). In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau stated that for the past four years, the poverty rate in the United States had been increasing (Spriggs, 14). However, the fact that nearly eighty-five percent of America’s high poverty counties were not metropolitan suggests that rural poverty is the more prevalent and acute compared to urban poverty (Landon, 14 – 15). Thus, it is clear that it