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Examining Poverty

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Poverty is usually relative and sometimes difficult to understand because it varies from one region, state or county to another. This essay examines poverty using the institute for poverty research and the census description. It involves using two websites to gain an understanding of how poverty is defined and measured, in order to see what the rates of poverty are in your country. At the end, the essay seeks to achieve two learning outcomes. First, to understand how poverty is defined and measured. Second, to see how much poverty there is in your county.

Part I:

How Poverty is Measured

There are different ways of measuring poverty in different regions. For instance, there is the Official National Measure, in which the United States Census Bureau establishes the poverty level by making a comparison between threshold and pre-tax income in terms of cash. Second, the Local and State Data depict the poverty level can be used as a measure. Here, the available data detailing the level of income per household are compared to get a clear picture of poverty prevalence in a given area. Third, the depth of poverty also helps in determining the standard of living among the people in an area by using a calculated income-to-poverty ratio.

Fourth, a Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) is important in determining the poverty rate in a region. The SPM uses a combination of government policy, economic and social realities. An aggregate of these measures will give a better picture of poverty levels in an area. The fifth measure of poverty is the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommendations. This entails the measure of economic poverty regarding the population and geo-spatial differences in the county to give the trend and help predict an amicable solution. The other measure of poverty rate is the review of the Committee on National Statistics. The review postulated that poverty could be measured using the rate of family assistance in different households. Indeed, this is critical because assisted families are perhaps poor and might not meet adequate and basic necessities of life. Finally, the Wisconsin Poverty Measure could be used to determine the rate of poverty in a given area. This kind of measure determines the impact of public policy guidelines on poverty, and not only focusing on the families or people who are poor. In his regard, it shows how the governmental policies are impacting on people’s poverty status, whether they increase it or significantly reduces it.     

The Definition of Poverty

According to Quinterno, poverty is defined as a socioeconomic status of a person that inhibits one from acquiring adequate basic necessities, thus making the person unable to live a comfortable life. Actually, being below the poverty level affects someone’s life in a number of ways. For example, poverty results in malnutrition, meaning that the household members may not be able to acquire adequate and well balanced daily food. Second, poverty lowers one’s dignity. Third, poverty inhibits one from acquiring a decent housing facility for his or her direct dependents, who do not have the capability to do so. Fourth, it reduces one’s morale in life. Moreover, poverty lowers the social status of an individual.

An Examine the Poverty Statistics for My County.

In relation to poverty level in my county, the available statistics indicate that poverty status varies according to household, meaning that there is no universal trend of poor people across Honolulu County.

Part II

Poverty Levels Across the County

Considering the data provided, the poverty level is not the same across the country. There are discrepancies among the counties and various categories of people found within a household. Taking children under 18 years as an example, the poverty levels in Alabama is 18.2 percent, Alaska is 9.3 percent, Arizona is 15.2 percent, Arkansas is 18.1 percent, California is 15.3 percent, and Colorado is 9.2 percent. Even other members of different ages within the household also experience variations in poverty levels depending on one’s income.   

Analysis of the Findings

Ideally, I was very surprised by the findings because there are some countries where poverty rate was as high as 18.2 percent, as in the case of Alabama, while in other states, the poverty levels for children falling in a similar age bracket was as low as 9.2 percent in Colorado, which was a half of that. The other surprise was that the householders 65 years or above did not have signnificant variation in terms of poverty levels compared to the children under 18 years, meaning that parents differed in the way gave their children  money. Alternatively, the aggressiveness of the children as they looked for money also varied significantly.

Factors Contributing to Poverty in My Area

The factors in my area that contributed to the amount of poverty here included different levels of percapita income (economics), employment status,  supplemental security income, the combination of a family (whether single parent, headed by a husband or wife), number of children per household, race/ethnicity of the households, education status of the household members, social stratification, discrimination within the household, and social networks.

Causes of Poverty in Hawaii

The reason for the poverty prevalence in Hawaii using sociological imagination low income level per individual or household. Second, ethnicity/race factors also affects the people’s income level, thus leading to poverty. Finally, high unemployment across the country also contributes to increase in poverty rate.    

Visible Signs of Poverty in Hawaii

Some of the visible signs of poverty in Hawaii include poor housing facilities, undeveloped infrastructure and high number of household occupants. One can easily notice these visible signs when traveling across Hawaii.

Non-visible Signs of Poverty in Hawaii

Some not so visible or hidden signs of poverty include low purchasing power per household, low supplemental security income and high rate of unemployment in the area.

Similarities between the Data Reviewed and those of the Newspaper Articles

A critical analysis of the information/data reviewed on the Census website points a similarity to the ones found in the newspaper articles in a number of ways. First, it shows an agreement on the causes and consequences of poverty in Hawaii. Secondly, the articles also indicate that the poverty rates varies in different households, depending on the social status and level of income. The other similarity is that different categories of members in the household experiences a unique rate of poverty.

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