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The American Paradox: “Everyone Deserves a Change and Yet You are Expected to Make it on Your Own" Poverty In America: A look at recent social statistics Amy Glasmeier Department of Geography Penn State Huddle Lunch Time Talk October 28, 2008 Americans Feel the Rich Have Too Much
Poverty In America: A look at recent social statistics
Department of Geography
Huddle Lunch Time Talk
October 28, 2008
But They Don’t Necessarily Want to Redistribute Wealth
But Don’t Necessarily Want to Help Them as They see the Plight of the Poor Self Made
But, We Should Make it
on Our Own
How do We Make Sense of This?
And they Look Like you or I
As Yard Sales Boom, Sentiment First Thing to Go
Economic Insecurity Arises Due to A Sharp Change in a Person’s Circumstances—Like Unemployment of an Unexpected Rise in Costs
GASOLINE AS A PERCENT OF INCOME
Molly Orshansky, 1970s
The poverty thresholds (also called “poverty lines”) are income levels that the Census Bureau compares to actual family income to determine poverty status.
The current, official thresholds are referred to as the “Orshansky thresholds,” after government economist Mollie Orshansky, who combined measures of need and expenditure.
This metric was chosen to avoid a debate about income redistribution; absolute poverty could be eradicated, relative poverty would always persist.
OTHER INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES USE 60% OF THE MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME
UK and US 60% of Median
Income, US Absolute Measure
USING THE FEDERAL MEASURE, THE NUMBER OF POOR HAS STAYED THE SAME EVEN AS THE POPULATION HAS INCREASED
HISTORICALLY, PUBLIC PLICY HAS BEEN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT IN REDUCING POVERTY IN THE COUNTRY
LET’S STEP BACK A MINUTE AND LOOK AT HISTORY
POVERTY BEGAN TO BE RECOGNIZED AS A MULTIFACETED PROBLEM WITH NO SINGLE CAUSE
From TheNew York Times In 1964:
Industrial regions were thriving; The South was the region of poor people;
Most poor families in the US were those whose principal wage earner worked.
Those with low education levels;
Race mattered, but the majority of poor people were white.
the poor; mobility the key
Federal Effort To Define Locations Of Economic Insecurity
POVERTY ARE AMERICAN FAMILIES?
STRUCTURAL FACTORS COUNT SUCH AS WAGES DIFFERENCES FOR MEN AND WOMEN FOR THE SAME JOB
INCOME INEQUALITY ALSO CONTRIBUTES TO THE RISE IN ECONOMIC INSECURITY—BEHIND
THE NUMBERS IS A DECLINE IN
THE NUMBER OF GOOD JOBS
The number of tax filers nationwide living in areas with high rates of working poverty
increased by 40 percent, or 1.6 million filers, between tax years 1999 and 2005. By 2005,
12.3 percent of low-income working families lived in high-working-poverty communities—
ZIP codes where more than 40 percent of taxpayers claimed the EITC—up from 10.4 percent
Among 58 large metropolitan areas, rates of concentrated working poverty (the share of
EITC filers living in high-working-poverty communities) rose in 34 over the first half of
the decade, while 24 showed declines. Older industrial metro areas including Detroit and
Rochester exhibited the greatest increases in concentrated working poverty, while the Los
Angeles and Phoenix metro areas experienced the largest declines.
Major metropolitan areas in the Midwest and Northeast experienced substantial increases
in concentrated working poverty over the first half of the decade, but Western metro
areas saw steep declines. Metro areas in the Northeast and West had similar rates of concentrated
working poverty in 1999 (13 percent), but by mid-decade, the rate had risen to 18 percent
in the Northeast while it dropped to 7 percent in the West.
Both central cities and suburbs saw an increase in high-working-poverty communities
between tax years 1999 and 2005. The number of tax filers living in high-working-poverty
areas in the central cities of major metropolitan areas across the country grew by 40 percent,
while the surrounding suburbs experienced an increase of 36 percent. Still, central-city EITC
recipients were five times as likely (25 percent) as suburban EITC recipients (5 percent) to live
in high-working-poverty communities in 2005.