This Modern Age

Understanding Poverty in the United States – Part I

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Poverty is always a hot button issue in heavy political cycles.  And truth be told, we are directly called by our Creator to care for the poor.  In fact, the poor should directly effect how we pray, where we spend our money and time and how we vote.

But there are fundamental questions that must answered to deal appropriately with poverty: A) Who are the poor? B) What should be done for the poor?

We are better served to learn who are the poor before we gain a solid understanding of what should be done to help. 

In 2004, Robert Rector and Kirk Johnson published their study on poverty based on the U.S. Census data

The following graphic from their study illuminates the material condition of the poor households in America relative to all American households. 

Interestingly, the first two statistics are based on full and prompt payment.  While obviously some the deficiency of poor households is due to cash flow problems, the category allows room for lack of organization and slothfulness – trust me, I have paid bills late myself simply because I lost track of them. 

Another telling statistic is the eviction percentage.  While we hear of the dramatic increase foreclosures in recent months, these 2004 figures are negligible for poor households – and I would be surprised if they have increased in a statistically significant environment in 2008. 

While there are obvious discrepancies between the poor and non-poor, the plight of the poor does not appear to be as dire as we might sometimes imagine.  

Written by thismodernage

June 26, 2008 at 12:21 pm

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