Poverty on the Rise?
There is a very wide range of income for individuals and families. This is why we
have people that are very wealthy which are referred to as the upper class and there is the
middle class that makes an average income, and the bottom of the income bracket lies the
people in poverty. Poverty is a condition in which a person or family does not have the
means to satisfy basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. Your race
does not matter, every race has people that are in poverty. But as it is statistically shown,
different races have a different number of people in poverty. In 1996, the federal
government established a minimum income level below which a person or family is
declared in ?poverty.? If a single person makes less than $7,995 then they are living in
poverty, and a family has to exceed $16,036 or are also in poverty.
From 1996 to 1997 the poverty rate has decreased by .4% In 1996, there was
36.5 million people at the poverty level and in 1997 the number of people in poverty
decreased to 35.6 million people. Since a decade ago the poverty level has increased from
32.4 million people to as high as 39.3 million in 1993, but since 1993 the number of
people living in poverty has decreased to 35.6 million people.
The percent of the population a decade ago below the poverty was 13.1%, which
has increases up to 15.1% but here recently the poverty rate is back down to 13.3%


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Since the previous year the poverty rate was lower by .4% for the general
population. The poverty rate of children under the age of eighteen has also decreased by
.6%. The black poverty rate decreased the most from 28.4% to 26.5%. The Asians and
Pacific Islanders had a decrease in their poverty rate by .5%. The whites had the smallest
decrease out of all races because they decreased only by .2%. There are many different
factors that contribute to the decreasing of the poverty rates, from the decrease of the
unemployment to the decrease in government income maintenance programs.
A lot of the poverty population is made up of income-maintenance programs. I
would like to talk about few of the programs that the government offers for people in
poverty. Social insurance programs is the first. There are many different types to the
social insurance program. The first two are OASDHI and Medicare. OASDHI is also
known as social security, which replaces wages lost after retirement. Medicare provides
hospital insurance for the elderly and disabled. The third type is unemployment
compensation which allows workers that are unemployed for a while to collect thirty-five
percent of their lost wages. The second program is Pubic Assistance. The first type is
Supplemental Security Income(SSI) this program allows disabled people to receive a
minimum income. Aid to Families with Dependent Children(AFDC) and Medicaid usually
are linked together. Medicaid will pay for hospital bills. AFDC provides certain families
with children financial support. Medicaid is also offered to SSI recipiances. The food
stamp program is the last type. It provides Americans with coupons that can be used for
food. The government spends about 736 billion of its dollars on these different types of
programs.

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The government provides people in poverty that are in the public assistance
programs with three different plans. They are supposed to help able-bodied, nonretired
individuals get out of poverty. The three different plans have many different conflicts.
Some of the conflicts are that the government is paying too much money out to the
people, which means they will be dependent on the government for their income instead of
working for it. Another conflict is that it is very costly to the government to keep paying
for able-bodied workers. These conflicts are what stir up many different welfare reforms.
All fifty states have income-maintenance programs, but the qualifications and rule
vary from state to state. In each state, they calculate their poverty rates. The number of
states that had an increase in poverty rate, in 1995 to 1997 was twenty-two states. The
other twenty-eight states had a decrease in poverty rate. From 1996 to 1997 there were
three states: Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina that had a poverty decrease while
two states Arkansas and New Hampshire showed increases in their poverty rate.
To answer the question, is poverty on the rise? The answer is no. Poverty for the
time being is declining. There are more and more people giving better jobs or getting off
public assistance programs. In my own opinion, poverty is decreasing because people are
realizing that public assistance programs are getting tougher and tougher