Poverty on the Rise?

There is a very wide range of income for individuals and families. This is why we

have people that are very wealthy which are referred to as the upper class and there is the

middle class that makes an average income, and the bottom of the income bracket lies the

people in poverty. Poverty is a condition in which a person or family does not have the

means to satisfy basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. Your race

does not matter, every race has people that are in poverty. But as it is statistically shown,

different races have a different number of people in poverty. In 1996, the federal

government established a minimum income level below which a person or family is

declared in ?poverty.? If a single person makes less than $7,995 then they are living in

poverty, and a family has to exceed $16,036 or are also in poverty.

From 1996 to 1997 the poverty rate has decreased by .4% In 1996, there was

36.5 million people at the poverty level and in 1997 the number of people in poverty

decreased to 35.6 million people. Since a decade ago the poverty level has increased from

32.4 million people to as high as 39.3 million in 1993, but since 1993 the number of

people living in poverty has decreased to 35.6 million people.

The percent of the population a decade ago below the poverty was 13.1%, which

has increases up to 15.1% but here recently the poverty rate is back down to 13.3%


Since the previous year the poverty rate was lower by .4% for the general

population. The poverty rate of children under the age of eighteen has also decreased by

.6%. The black poverty rate decreased the most from 28.4% to 26.5%. The Asians and

Pacific Islanders had a decrease in their poverty rate by .5%. The whites had the smallest

decrease out of all races because they decreased only by .2%. There are many different

factors that contribute to the decreasing of the poverty rates, from the decrease of the

unemployment to the decrease in government income maintenance programs.

A lot of the poverty population is made up of income-maintenance programs. I

would like to talk about few of the programs that the government offers for people in

poverty. Social insurance programs is the first. There are many different types to the

social insurance program. The first two are OASDHI and Medicare. OASDHI is also

known as social security, which replaces wages lost after retirement. Medicare provides

hospital insurance for the elderly and disabled. The third type is unemployment

compensation which allows workers that are unemployed for a while to collect thirty-five

percent of their lost wages. The second program is Pubic Assistance. The first type is

Supplemental Security Income(SSI) this program allows disabled people to receive a

minimum income. Aid to Families with Dependent Children(AFDC) and Medicaid usually

are linked together. Medicaid will pay for hospital bills. AFDC provides certain families

with children financial support. Medicaid is also offered to SSI recipiances. The food

stamp program is the last type. It provides Americans with coupons that can be used for

food. The government spends about 736 billion of its dollars on these different types of



The government provides people in poverty that are in the public assistance

programs with three different plans. They are supposed to help able-bodied, nonretired

individuals get out of poverty. The three different plans have many different conflicts.

Some of the conflicts are that the government is paying too much money out to the

people, which means they will be dependent on the government for their income instead of

working for it. Another conflict is that it is very costly to the government to keep paying

for able-bodied workers. These conflicts are what stir up many different welfare reforms.

All fifty states have income-maintenance programs, but the qualifications and rule

vary from state to state. In each state, they calculate their poverty rates. The number of

states that had an increase in poverty rate, in 1995 to 1997 was twenty-two states. The

other twenty-eight states had a decrease in poverty rate. From 1996 to 1997 there were

three states: Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina that had a poverty decrease while

two states Arkansas and New Hampshire showed increases in their poverty rate.

To answer the question, is poverty on the rise? The answer is no. Poverty for the

time being is declining. There are more and more people giving better jobs or getting off

public assistance programs. In my own opinion, poverty is decreasing because people are

realizing that public assistance programs are getting tougher and tougher