Poverty is still a big issue in the US

There is no question that poverty remains a major political and social issue when you look at the number of children in America who are living below the poverty line.

The infographic [1] below on the effects of poverty collated by the University of New England and focusing on the social impact of this dilemma, shows that the number of American children living in poverty has actually increased by 23% during a six-year study period between 2007 and 2013.

The starting point when looking at this complex and challenging issue is to establish how the U.S defines poverty and what measures are used.

The Johnson administration were the first government to introduce an official means of measuring poverty back in the 1960’s and the current poverty guidelines have one measure for the contiguous U.S with Alaska and Hawaii the exceptions.

As you would expect, measuring poverty is not straightforward and although the thresholds created by the U.S Census Bureau form the basis of the statistical model, citizens are then placed into just one of 48 available thresholds, based on mitigating factors such as age and the number of family members sharing the home.

Measuring poverty by age shows that just under 20% of those identified as living in poverty are younger than 18 and there are just over 14.5 million such people in the U.S.

For those in this situation, the numbers are almost an irrelevance in comparison to the importance of action to try and address the imbalance.

When you consider that it is estimated the average family in this situation need approximately 200-300% of the federal poverty threshold just to meet their basic needs, you can see why the average social worker has a demanding job.

Click on the infographic below to enlarge it

US Poverty UNE

[1] www.socialwork.une.edu/resources/infographics/the-effects-of-american-poverty/

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