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Published On: Fri, Oct 27th, 2017

Why Does Poverty Still Exist in the US?

The United States is one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world. It prides itself on being the land of opportunity. However, 15 percent of the population is living in poverty. This is shocking. For a country that claims to offer advantages for everyone and so many chances for success, this is something that should not be tolerated.

There are a number of factors that play into poverty in the United States. Surprisingly, most of these issues are related to people not having opportunities. In addition, legislation and other regulations also hinder people from being able to overcome poverty and move into a better financial place. Here is a look at some of the main factors influencing the poverty level in the US.

photo Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

Low Earnings

Many people are stuck in low-paying jobs. This could be due to lack of opportunity in the area in which they live or because they lack the training to do higher paying jobs. Even with two people in a family working, low-paying jobs barely allow them to meet their necessary expenses.

Things are complicated further when there is only one wage earner in a home. With the number of single-parent families on the rise, this is quickly becoming an issue. Even with a good paying job, single parents may struggle to meet the needs of their families simply due to the high costs of goods and services.

Not making enough money leads to living paycheck to paycheck. While a family may be holding it together, all it takes is one emergency expense to upset everything and send them spiraling down into financial ruin. Most of the families in these situations do not have the ability to save any money for emergencies, so when one occurs, they have to take from their budget and leave bills unpaid or forego buying groceries. It is a bad situation to be in.

Lack of Assistance

Assistance programs as designed now simply are not working. They were always meant to be a temporary solution. People getting benefits should be encouraged and helped to better themselves so they can get off of assistance and out of poverty. Unfortunately, in most cases, assistance is handed out without any requirements. If assistance is given to people with the expectation that they will work to get themselves out of their current situation, it would be a much better situation.

Offering programs to train people for higher paying jobs could completely change the state of poverty in the country. However, many states have seen budget cuts that make it difficult to do this. If funding isn’t there, they have no choice but to offer people the assistance without making any steps towards helping them to get out of their current situation.

The struggle is something that is debated often, but no solution has been offered that would actually work. Until those in the government can come together to provide assistance along with services that will enable people to become independent, there will always be those stuck in poverty and getting government benefits.

Rising Cost of Living

Housing prices in the country are rather astronomical. Affordable housing is often only found in areas where there is no access to good jobs. This means these areas end up in poverty because their populations are working low-paying jobs because nothing else is available. Affordable housing in larger cities may be limited and difficult to secure. When people are barely making enough money to get by, spending the majority of that income on housing takes a toll. This is the case for so many people.

Beyond that, the general cost of living keeps going up, but wages are not going up to keep pace. When expenses become too burdensome, it makes it tough to make ends meet. If there is not a balance, more people will fall to the poverty level.

Medical Expenses

Perhaps one area where the United States is really falling behind is medical costs. They are out of control in the country. There is not a good system in place to ensure everyone has access to affordable health insurance. Every attempt to create one has failed. People who are just above the poverty line fall into a category where they cannot qualify for any medical assistance. These people also often work at jobs where they cannot get medical insurance. It simply isn’t in their budget to pay for private insurance, so they go without. This can drive costs up for everyone if they need medical care and cannot pay for it out of pocket.

There are so many issues in the United States that keep people in poverty. These are not hidden issues. Most are well-known. Unfortunately, there is no clear solution. Luckily, those struggling can often find people who will help them out, such as Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva. There are many services out there to help people who are living in poverty.

The hope is and always will be to have zero poverty in the US. Until that happens, though, it is the work of everyone to help find solutions. Through working together, poverty can be eradicated.

Author: Lolita Di

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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