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Poverty is a social phenomenon when people live far below the average income level. Various institutions have come up and drawn a poverty line, the parameter that is used to classify people as poor or prosperous. In the United States, a war against poverty was launched fifty years ago by President Lyndon Johnson. Poverty is a social problem, and its negative impacts on the society are greater as compared to those on a specific individual. When a low-income person starts a family, their family usually stays poor. The low-income individuals will not receive adequate education, thus, they will progressively increase the country's dependency ratio (Bauerova, 2011). As a result, the country will suffer more negative consequences than a poor person.
Sociology is "the study of the origin, development, organization and institutions of social behavior" (Bauerova, 2011). On the other hand, sociological imagination is the awareness that an individual will have "the relationship between personal experiences and the society" (McKay, 2014). People with low income behave in a certain manner. Sociologists examine such a behavior and relate it to the lack of resources. When an individual lacks resources, they progressively withdraw from their social group, begin feeling hatred and observing certain norms. The poor feel that the society or some other people may handle their problem.
When President Johnson was launching a war on poverty, the poverty rate stood at 22.1% according to Census Bureau data. Over the years, the efforts have borne fruit, but the burden is still large. In 2013, according to Census Bureau data, 14.5% of American population lived in poverty. In Appalachia (one of the U.S. poorest region), the poverty rate in 2010 was reported to be at 16.6% of the total population. In Texas, the state bordering Mexico, and in other 12 states bordering ther nations, poverty rate in 2010 was reported to be 31%. These are the states that are known to lack necessities such as clean water, electricity, and sewer systems (Krogstad, 2015). Therefore, poverty in the United States still remains a complicated issue that need well thought out measures to be put in place. Though America has traveled a long way in fighting poverty, it needs to restructure its operations of reducing and preventing poverty.
The literature review will focus on the measures that the United States can take to prevent and reduce poverty. It will look at it in three subsections;
Strategies for Poverty Prevention and Reduction
William Sutherland has conducted a research to identify research priorities for poverty reduction and prevention. In his research, he uses 100 questions that require immediate responses on how to overcome poverty. The study engages 363 participants. Sutherland managed to identify a number of factors causing poverty in America. The author classifies them into nine different groups; "family and education, policy and agency, employment, social position towards poverty, health and inclusion, cost of living and services, place and spatial patterns, tax inequality, and benefits, the general issues" (Sutherland, 2013). He received his responses from both low income people and prosperous individuals.
Relationship of Poverty, Disability, and Employment
According to the research done by Alexander Wohl, Americans with disabilities have a higher rate of poverty as compared to other people. Wohl identifies that the disparity happens due to the unfair labor practices. After identifying the problem, the author provides a solution in order to explain how the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act, Affordable Care Act, and ABLE Act can be positively used to eliminate poverty among the physically challenged (Wohl, 2014). The article tries to elaborate on how to change the unfortunate trend.
Sources of Poverty
Ron Smith conducted the research to identify the changes to be put in place to reduce the poverty. In his article, the author cites some of the sources of poverty in the U.S. One of the causes is the policy that the government uses to address the issue (Smith, 2013). The government cooncentrates on the level of poverty signs but does not provide elimination mechanisms of the real problems causing poverty. As a remedy, Smith proposes a holistic approach to address the issue. According to Smith, the cause of poverty is the governmental policies and as such, the social policy should be reformed.
Data and Methods
In his research, William Sutherland invited 363 participants to answer 100 urgent questions, after which he organized the responses into nine groups of factors. The nine groups of factors show that the issue of the poverty is widespread (Sutherland, 2013). A sample group of 363 people originating from the poor and prosperous people was representative. However, it also was very large for the analysis. William used the method of selection and categorization to arrive at nine groups of responses. The method eased the analysis but had a risk of subjectivity.
According to Wohl, 420, 000 Americans living with disabilities participate in work programs, but they receive small salaries accompanied with various limitations. Illustratively, in 2014, the SGA limits for physically challenged people who were not blind were $1070, while those for the blind recipients accounted for $1800 (Wohl, 2014). Additionally, these people are limited from accumulating assets above $2000. The sample size obtained was appropriate for the research, as it included the correct figures from the bureau of statistics. It was large enough to trace the trend. Additionally, the method of research is analytical, giving the researcher a better platform to engage large amounts of data.
According to Smith, during the period between 2007 and 2011, a total of 42.7 million people who represent 14.3% of Americans were reported to be below the poverty line. The government, therefore, is forced to give them some assistance which costs the country more than $1 trillion annually (Smith, 2013). The research looked at the U.S. as a whole and thus was able to arrive at a dependable conclusion. However, the method failed to give regional poverty magnitude. The methodology used included an analysis of figures and drawing conclusions.