Sophomore Writing Class #2
The Causes of Poverty in America
Although the United States is one of the richest countries in the world, poverty still exists in this country. In the year 2002, 1.7 million Americans slipped below the poverty line, bringing the total to 34.6million. That‟s an astonishing one in eight of the population (Swicord).The three main reasons of the American poverty are the housing costs, drug use and other forms of substance abuse, and unemployment.
First, housing cost is a big problem that causes American poverty. The high housing price forces many people below the poverty line. According to Julia Smith, a special projects manager, “housing costs in the nation's capital have tripled over the last five years. Generally, what you are seeing is the poor being pushed out of the city. And so you have the working poor that are holding jobs, but can no longer afford to live in the city” (Swicord).Besides,
people have to pay for the inflated home prices through the mortgages. According to 2006 Census data ,thirty-seven percent of U.S. homeowners with mortgages are spending 30% or more of their before-tax income on housing, the threshold where the government says a home becomes unaffordable (Knox). Monthly mortgage payments make these homeowners become poor easily. On the whole, housing cost is a great threat to Americans‟ lifestyle.
Second, drug abuse and other forms of substance abuse is another big factor in American poverty. Many people become poor because of drug addiction which even ruins their life and families. For instance, “Ronny Thomas suffered from drug addiction for years, but with the Central Mission's help, he is now drug-free and looking for a good-paying job. „I started
using drugs and my life just went haywire. I couldn't manage bills, and family -- and just lost everything‟ ". (Swicord).In addition, there are much more money and resources that go into combating drugs. In 2002, there were 1,400,000 arrests for drug possession and the number of arrests for drug trafficking was 300,000.The annual cost of the “drug war” today is $100 million (Zhang 269). For this reason, the situation that the society wealth and resources are wasted becomes more serious. Above all, drug abuse and other forms of substance abuse is a huge problem that causes American poverty.
Unemployment is the last but not the least reason that causes America poverty. It is a constant threat to the American people and it affects, in particular, those without skills and those who have been displaced by machines. These kinds of people can hardly find jobs. They become poor easily. An unemployed, Dan Larkin said: “They‟re sending $87billion to
the second richest oil nation in the world but can‟t afford to feed their own here in the States.”( Peterson).Despite of a increase in jobs by the American government, The crisis of unemployment in America still continues to worsen. Obviously, the poverty in America because of the unemployment still continues to exist.
In short, with the housing costs, drug use and other forms of substance abuse, and unemployment, the poverty still exists in America. It doesn‟t mean that solving these
problems could solve the poverty problem in America. But if these problems were solved, the poverty situation in America would have changed to a great extent.
Knox,Noelle. and Hansen,Barbara.“Housing costs punish family budgets” usatoday.com
USToday. September14, 2007. Web. April25,2010
Peterson,John.“Poverty and Unemployment in America”socialistappeal.org n.p. n.d. Web.
Swicord,Jeff. “Poverty in America Affects Millions.” 51voa.com n.p. January23, 2007 Web.
Zhuang Lihua, and Li Xiao. Across the Ocean to see America. Beijing, Chinese
books .2003.4 .Print