The social problem I chose to talk about in my paper is Poverty. I feel like poverty is a major problem along with others in the US that need to be addressed. Poverty is when you are extremely poor and aren’t able to meet basic needs like food, clothing or shelter. This would be a social problem because it affects many people around the world and needs be address to make better changes for those in poverty. The United States is one that has a high rate of poverty. It affects people’s education, health and shelter.
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Education is important for many people to get a better paying job in their future. For people who are in poverty many do not complete going to school because they receive inadequate schooling. The US has one of the highest rates of child poverty. An organization named ChildFund International states that “Poverty reduces a child’s readiness for school because it leads to poor physical health and motor skills, diminishes a child’s ability to concentrate and remember information, and reduces attentiveness, curiosity and motivation.” Many children whose family is in poverty do not complete high school and do not enter college which will then lead to “a vicious cycle of continuing poverty across generations” (Waston, 2015). Children need school to develop and learn new skills that will help them as they get older. If a child’s family is in poverty, they will lack achieving this and continue being in poverty when they grow up and have a family of their own.
Health is a main concern to everyone in the world and people who are in poverty are more likely to have health problems than wealthier people. It is stated that “In 2018, 8.5% of people, or 27.5 million, did not have health insurance at any point during the year.” (US Census Bureau). Having poor health will result in having many diseases, infant mortality and mental illnesses. This can come from not having a great income that results to not being able to afford health insurance. Children who have poor health will do poorly in school because they are sick and are not able to afford medicine or be taken in to the doctor due to being expensive whereas children from wealthy families do not have a problem with this.
Housing has become more expensive over the years and is another problem that results in poverty. Many people struggle to pay rent and half of their income will go to rent rather than food or health insurance. Many will live in poor neighborhoods that do not have great jobs, schools and other modern life features. High housing cost is one of the main reasons why many become homeless because they are not able to keep paying rent. In our textbook “An estimated 1.6 million people, including more than 300,000 children, are homeless at least part of the year” (Watson, 2015). Many children are becoming homeless lacking a place to sleep, eat and shower. This can be another reason why many children do not go to school as well. The homeless lack many things like health, food and a place to stay and sleep. In Oxnard I see a lot of homeless people sleeping on park benches or asking for money/food. Many have poor hygiene and health problems. Poverty leads to people becoming homeless due to everything being expensive and it can be hard for them to get a job because of their appearance.
The poverty rate in the US declined a bit in 2018. In the US Census Bureau “The official poverty rate in 2018 was 11.8%, down 0.5 percentage points from 12.3% in 2017” (US Census Bureau). The data for 2019 has yet not been shown but for 2018 it seems that the poverty rate has decreased only 0.5 percent which is “the fourth annual decline since 2014” (US Census Bureau). There is more poverty in rural areas than in urban areas. This is because people living in rural areas do not have much resources as people who live in urban areas. It is a lot harder to get places when everything is farther away. It is said that “one in four children in rural areas in America live in poverty, compared to one in five in urban areas” (Merchant, A). This tells us that the majority of people who live in poverty live in the South.
There are many solutions that we as a society can help create to address that poverty is a problem. There are many organizations out there that are for people in poverty. I would make billboard advertisements that will allow people to see how they can get help. Many do not know of organizations that can help themselves or friends in need and I feel that is a big issue that needs to be fixed because how will people in poverty get help from organizations if they do not know they exist. Something I know that has been done is raising the minimum wage in jobs. In 2009 people who worked full-time got paid $7.25 whereas now in 2019 people who work full-time get paid $12.00 an hour. The minimum wage is slowly going up over the years which I see as a good thing. Another solution that I think will benefit is an affordable health insurance that allows everyone to be able to go to the hospital without worrying about the bill. If we create this there will be less sickness and deaths because people will be able to get treated. The conflict theory connects to the solutions I came up with because the poor do not have what the wealthy have. The wealthy are the ones that can influence the media, law and high institutions but the people in poverty are not able to do that because they are poor and people would rather listen to people with wealth than people that are poor.
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The US is one of the countries that hast the highest poverty rate. Poverty effects our education, health, and shelter. Looking at what people in poverty go through shows that it can be classified as a social problem because it not only effects the people in poverty but others who are not. There are many solutions that can be done to get people out of poverty but people need to know of this problem and know what we as a society can do to slowly start eliminating poverty.
- ChildFund International. (2013, November 4). The Effects of Poverty on Education in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.childfund.org/Content/NewsDetail/2147489206/.
- Merchant, A. (2019, May 23). 10 Facts about Poverty in the United States. Retrieved from https://borgenproject.org/10-facts-about-poverty-in-the-united-states/.
- University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing. (2015). Social problems: continuity and change. Minneapolis, MN.
- US Census Bureau. (2019, September 24). Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the U.S.: 2018. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2019/income-poverty.html