POVERTY FROM INSTRUMENTAL, NARRATIVE, AND CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES
Poverty from instrumental, narrative, and critical perspectives
Poverty is defined as the state of inadequate social or material acceptance an individual or a community experiences. For instance, statistics shows that United States of America experienced a state of poverty where the rate increased to 15percent in the year 2010 from 14 percent in the year 2009 (Siddiqi, 2011). This implies that at least two people in ten encountered the state of poverty in the year 2010 and this is because of the high levels of unemployment rates within the nation. According to research, the term poverty is a complicated concept and therefore it may be used to mean different things by different people. For instance, poverty may mean lack or inadequacy of food, clean water, education, capital and sanitation among other human needs. The concept absolute poverty demonstrates a population that is spending below one dollar in a day. This illustrates that averagely 1.2 million people are experiencing absolute poverty worldwide.
In addition, relative poverty is defined as the rate of poverty levels within a country. Therefore, even though United States of America has a greater human development, some people are relatively poor within the country in comparison with other richer people in the country (United Nations, 2004). There are different types of poverty and these includes institutional poverty which means the inadequacy or lack of public institution to meet the financial needs of the citizens and private sector thus reducing on the rate of paying taxes within a country. This type of poverty is likely to result into cycle of poverty in that by those institutions lacking enough money, the workers end up being underpaid while the professionals seek job somewhere else, the remaining groups stay without motivation to work, and thus the cycle continues. Another type of poverty involves individual poverty, which is caused by the effects of the institutional poverty like lack of lack access to services such as jobs. Lack of education among individuals leads to extreme poverty and hinders the possibility of moving up the social ladder, chances of getting health care services and other services. Poverty is thus experiencing shortcomings either materially or socially and has harsh consequences of the people within a country.
Consequences of poverty in the United States
Low-income families in United States
Poverty as defined above is the state where a person or a country lacks or has inadequate social or material possession such as food, water, housing, and clothing that are required for a better living. According to studies, a good number of families in the United States have low incomes and this poses many challenges and disadvantages for both the children and parents. For instance, statistics shows that in 2006, one out of five families earned an income that was below the federal poverty level. This indicates that these families encountered financial vulnerability as an extra challenge above other challenges faced by other rich families. These low-income families experience many challenges such as getting employment and maintaining it, settling their bills, and providing basic needs like shelter, education and health care to their children.
Poverty makes low-income earners to work extremely hard and in particular parents. Even though low-income families tend to work less than the higher income families, low-income earners work extra time and in different jobs in order to meet their basic needs.
The major cause for low income is known to be low wages. This is because a good number of low-income families their salaries come from earnings from the low work intensity groups. The most vulnerable group in this case includes the single parent families who are almost as twice as likely to get low incomes compared to families with more children and married couples. Research shows that sixty percent of single parents are included in the workforce, unfortunately only a small percentage works full time. This may be because of challenges accompanied by raising children and other family responsibilities.
Impacts of poverty and economic insecurity on families and children
According to Kowalski (2003), one in five families and children are under extreme poverty. Across the nation, a large number of people are living in poverty and about 65percent of women are leaders in the house of dependent children. For instance, many families and children have inadequate or lack access to health care services and lack the best means to get sufficient nutritional food for themselves and their families. These people keep on struggling to attain their basic needs surrendering them highly vulnerable to economic insecurities and disasters. The major victims to feel the impacts of poverty are always children. This is because families most of the time chose strategies that have negative effects for children as they try to fight to attain economic security. For instance, children are succumbed to hunger, forced to leave school in order to earn an income by working in dangerous conditions. Young girls may be forced to get married to enhance the financial security for the family.
Circumstances leading to a family becoming homeless
The right at which families are becoming homeless is increasing daily. This is because of the high rates of poverty within a country and the world as a whole. Poverty and homelessness are related in that the poor are often unable to clear or even pay the rental bills, health care services, food, and education. Therefore, this forces people to make hard decisions concerning covering the most basic needs from the list. In most cases, poor people tend to overlook paying for housing because it is the most expensive on the list of need hence homeless in such a situation is inevitable.
Another circumstance leading to homelessness includes the decreasing rates of employment opportunities within the country. As a result, people’s income keep on reducing with les secure jobs that provides less benefits especially in financial terms. For instance, reducing wages makes it difficult for a family to secure a house since more than a minimum wage is needed in order to attain a two or one bed-roomed house to cater for the family. There is also a decrease in public assistance, which leads to poverty and homelessness. The programs set for assisting the poor families and children are declining therefore, this has rendered these families to experience homelessness due to lack of enough funds to pay for housing. There is also lack of affordable and cheap houses for the low-income earners. Expensive housing has led to extreme house rent burden, poor housing and overcrowding.
Personal or family experiences on poverty (experience of being poor and the impact on the family)
In my experience, children born in disadvantaged families are known to perform poorly in academic work than those from well-off families by higher amount than elsewhere. For instance, being in a poor family implies that one cannot access school meals; get enough reading materials and even affording to be in the best performing school institutions. The main cause of childhood poverty is the inadequacy and lack of opportunities by my parents due to low skills and qualifications. The parents had low earning because of the kind of the job done. The major impact of such parents to the family is that they have to choose or make a decision on balancing the demands of economy and the requirements of the family. This implies that there is need to find time for the children as well as work extra hours in order to meet the family demands. Therefore, because of poverty, children specifically get affected negatively since they cannot afford education like other children from reach families, lack parental attention because parents are always committed at their jobs in order to earn a living and some are even forced to leave school in order to get income for the family.
Influence of political and economic factors on rates of poverty (a critical perspective on the distribution of wealth in the society
Economic and political factors are the major causes of the high rates of poverty in the country. For instance, job loss and subsequent poverty are linked to family violence and besides financial uncertainty; poor families’ experience a lot more stress and other negative vents such as depression, eviction and criminal victimization. Therefore, families that experience difficult economic times are likely to become highly punitive with their actions. Politically, families in countries that experience political difficulties have hard times growing and improving their lifestyles because most of the resources are wasted on political issues hence leading to poverty.
According to Iceland (2006), almost all countries worldwide inclusive of United States demonstrate an uneven distribution of wealth particularly to various stages of productivity by members. Nevertheless, in case all people in our society work equally, it becomes difficult to view how all can end up with the same financial status because it is obvious that there will always be chances that make others rich and make others poor.
How social and economic forces perpetuate class differences
Social and economic class demonstrates the way people in a society have selected themselves over a pattern of positions ranging from importance, influence, and prestige. Therefore, because of social and economic status of individuals, class differences may be created depending on educational level, social status, and financial status among others.
UNST goals and discuss how better interpretation and understanding of the goal can help us address the issue of poverty in America
Poverty Eradication Action Plan as one of the United Nations Strategic goal helps in addressing the issue of poverty in America by encouraging the poor families to engage in economic growth through promoting self-employment both externally and internally particularly in agricultural and wage employment sectors.
Iceland, J. (2006). Poverty in America: a handbook. California, CA: University of California Press.
Kowalski, K. (2003). Poverty in America: Causes and Issues. New York, NY: Enslow Publishers.
United Nations. (2004).Guidelines on strategic planning and management of water resources. New York, NY: United Nations Publications.
Siddiqi, S. (2011). Statistics on poverty and food shortage in America. Retrieved from: http://www.soundvision.com/Info/poor/statistics.asp
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