All Articles Tagged "poverty"
IN A NATION OF SINGLE MOTHERS, MORE FATHERS MUST STEP UP AND PROVIDE.
By Wayne Hodges
“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody. I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat…we must find each other.” – Mother Theresa
The passage above, quoted by one of nature’s finest, Mother Theresa, basically summarizes our nation’s rising epidemic of single-parent homes; more specifically young mothers. And boy, the statistics don’t lie. According to the Single Parent Center, there are roughly 14 million single parents in the U.S. today; responsible for raising approximately 21.6 million of our nation’s children.
And the correlation between one-parent homes and financial despair is even more dire with 27.7% of custodial single mothers living in poverty.
Before I proceed, the intent of this column is not to cast a vote of judgment against anyone. Instead, I’d just prefer to relay the following message to the parents of our community: OUR CHILDREN NEED YOU!
I repeat: OUR CHILDREN NEED YOU!
Yes, this statement is probably a tad bit redundant. But, who cares? When it comes to the topic of child development, anything is worth repeating twice. And the young fathers and mothers of our community, quite frankly, must come to understand its importance.
There’s no question the morality of today’s youth is significantly different than the “Brady Bunch” days of 40 years ago. For this futility, I point the exclusive finger of blame at parents, corporate America, MTV, BET and VH1 for their careless and irresponsible contributions.
First, let’s start with latter.
In an effort to boost television ratings, the aforementioned networks have made a sick hobby of portraying our men and women as a bunch of money-grabbing, violent, unethical malcontents. See “Basketball Wives.” Even worse, too many boys have bought into the “Get Rich or Die Trying” mentality that permeates urban communities. Speaking from personal experience, like many, I too shouldered the ponderous burden of growing up in a fatherless environment. My mother raised yours truly, my brother and sister on one income; while pursuing a college degree part-time. Even though mama did one hell of a parenting job, the atmosphere at home was far from stress free.
After all, the daunting task of trying to ‘make ends meet’ with moderate income and three mouths to feed is bound to wear a person down sooner or later, right?
But, here’s where the trouble begins; particularly in the case of young black men. To break confinement from the ghetto, too many boys feel obligated to become the “man” their father never was; thus causing them to resort to a series of “quick money” tactics as a means to financially support the home.
Of course, quick money is usually dirty money; which often leads to residency inside a 6′ X 8′ concrete block cell laced by iron bars with a stinking toilet embedded to the floor. Not convinced? Let peek at some more statistics. The Separated Parenting Access & Resource Center (SPARC) reports 85% of youths in prison grew up in fatherless homes. Other studies have shown fatherless children to be customary victims of poor mental health, unsatisfactory educational performance and substance abuse.
Although today’s feature is single mothers, I’d like to shift some attention to dead-beat daddies for just a moment. Guys, the madness has to stop. Children don’t ask to be here. As fathers, it’s absolutely critical we maintain some form of regular contact with our children, regardless how vulgar the socioeconomic conditions. This includes stressed relationships with the biological mother, inadequate finances and substandard education.
Apologies, to be candid, are not good enough. Neither are excuses. Gentlemen, as a byproduct of our laziness, too many children have gone without. To enact positive change, it’s imperative we abstain from leaving these women alone to raise our kids.
Now, back to ladies. In an effort to discourage young women from making poor economic decisions, organizations such as the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) in Kansas City have set up a variety of educational workshops in the areas of home-ownership, child development, finance, building self-esteem, budgeting and college prep. Charlzetta Hall, the Director of the WRC, believes it’s time for women to take control of their lives. And it starts with confidence.
“Too many women are desperate to have a man, and it impedes their progress,” said Hall. “The primary goal of the WRC is to help these ladies understand their inner-beauty first, then everything else will fall into place.”
Wayne Hodges is the editor of MassAppealNews.com
The world isn’t getting any bigger. Now, it’s just supporting more people than ever before. While on the one hand, it’s cause for celebration it’s also cause for alarm. This increase in population will exacerbate all the world’s existing problems, like poverty, clean drinking water, pollution etc.
Check out the extent of this problem in this interview with CBS’ Russ Mitchell below.
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In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week, it is stated that people who live in lower-poverty neighborhoods tend to have lower levels of obesity and diabetes compared to those who reside in rough, poverty-stricken areas. According to CNN, this realization all started after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offered residents of poor neighborhoods the chance to move on up (not necessarily to the East Side). While they were initially supposed to just be studying how where you reside affects employment, income and education, with the rise in the number of obese Americans, they decided to take their study a step further.
They studied 4,498 single mothers who volunteered for the program to get their families out of high-poverty areas. They found that individuals who moved to lower-poverty areas were 19 percent less likely to have morbid obesity, and 22 percent less likely to have the glucose levels usually connected with diabetes. According to study author Jens Ludwig, “Neighborhood disadvantages contribute to obesity and diabetes. Improving the economic situations [of families] improves their health.”
If you were wondering what is it about poverty-stricken areas that increases your risk for obesity aside from the usual, “No money to afford good food” answer, here are a few ideas, according to previous studies. Many struggling neighborhoods, for one, lack places where you can get healthy sources of food. Corner stores and local food joints usually don’t supply people with the healthy items they need in their diet. Who wants to go far out to the grocery when the corner store has some delicious delights too? And on top of that, the lack of medical benefits, education aspects and stress, a lot of neighborhoods don’t have safe places to exercise or where children can play at and work up a sweat. Interesting.
Can’t say I’m surprised about this revelation. It’s pretty true that you can’t really drive down the street in a bad neighborhood and find an LA Fitness or Equinox to get your mind and body right. But we definitely thought it was worth sharing. So the moral of the story is, the area you live in could possibly be making you obese–but let’s not use our residences as scapegoats either. You know when it’s time to put down that cheeseburger…
What do you think of the study’s findings?
Okay, so I know it’s weird that I’m shouting out a “Sesame Street” puppet, but this racially ambiguous puppet is being brought to you by “Sesame Street” for a great cause: to help fight hunger.
Lily, with her fuchsia (?) skin and multi-colored locks is being introduced for a one hour prime-time special for the show to help alert people on the ongoing issues with hunger. And not hunger concerns abroad, but ones going on right here at home. According to Entertainment Weekly (and the U.S. Department of Agriculture), nearly one in four children in the U.S. have limited access to nutritious and affordable food. Lily’s family will deal with food “insecurity” issues in the primetime special, and the show will also feature everyday families with their children talking about how they cope. Country singer Brad Paisley and his wife will also take part in the special, called “Growing Hope Against Hunger,” airing October 9. The special is being sponsored by the folks over at Walmart. So, is she too cute or what? What do you think of “Sesame Street” and this initiative their taking to help curb a major issue?
(Crain’s) — New York City’s poverty rate jumped to 20.1% in 2010 from 18.7% in 2009 and median family income plummeted 6% to $53,593 as the aftershocks of the Great Recession reverberated throughout the five boroughs. New figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau paint a picture of broad suffering for the city’s poor and working classes as they try to claw their way back out from the worst economic collapse since the 1930s. “We’re entering new territory,” said David Jones, president of the Community Service Society of New York. “The economic sense of losing ground is palpable, particularly for young people who, even if they try hard, can’t seem to get any entry point into the economy.” Some 1.6 million New Yorkers were living in poverty last year, the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey showed. The poverty line in 2010 for a family of four was $22,314. The bureau reported last week that 15.1%, of Americans, or 46.2 million people, lived below the poverty line last year, the highest number in the 52 years it has put out the data.
More black women in this country are baby-mamas than they are wives. Some even have multiple children with multiple men. Indeed there are several who qualify as hoodrats—of which such outcomes are expected. However, many are quite the opposite—educated, successful, selective. Certainly no one would classify Nia Long as a rat; yet, she has birthed two children out-of-wedlock.
73 percent of black children enter this world at a disadvantage—they are more likely to live in poverty, and more vulnerable to a life in the animal house called prison. Why? We have grown callous to subliminal media influences and fallen victim to false truths and our own naiveté. You see it’s not necessarily the type of man you date that makes you susceptible; it is the defects in your approach to life and romantic relationships.
Here is a list of some of the wrong-thinking that can place you in the position to do it all, alone:
According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau released Wednesday, 27.4 percent of blacks are living below the poverty line. Even though the report also states that the overall amount of Americans living in poverty is at a 52-year high – the results are still staggering.
The news is particularly sad because it doesn’t seem like a decrease is on the horizon. Along with that, since the poverty rate is continuing to rise, the median household income and health insurance options keeps dwindling.
That’s not all, the report also discusses that while the recession officially ended in 2009, poverty has been steadily increasing. The report, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010,” states that the number of people living in poverty rose by 2.6 million, from 43.6 to 46.2 million people. This marks the fourth consecutive annual increase, yet it appears nothing is being done to solve the issue. Leaving some to wonder, do the powers at be really want these issues solved.
Case in point, in the United States living below the poverty line means that you are making under $11,139 dollars a year. The number of blacks living below that line rose to 10.7 million, up 1.6 percent. At the same time, the median household income in 2010 was $49,445, the median in black households were $32,068, down 3.2 percent. The 2010 poverty rate is the highest its been since 1993.
When it comes to health coverage – the numbers are just as scary. With more and more people unable to find work, healthcare coverage took a dive, with 49.9 million (or 16.3 percent) of the population not insured. The change in numbers is likely due to the rising of insurance rates, causing employees to cut programs due to expense, while many with full-time jobs opt out of coverage, so they can financially stay afloat.
Although, the report paints a rather dismal picture – the fact is the outcome would have been a lot worse without the intervention of government assistance. While government assistance is not favored among most of the Republican Party; the government safety net is credited with rescuing borderline families from destitution.
Since the Census doesn’t count food stamps or the earned income tax credit as income – it is not easily defined in the reporting. Yet, Census officials say if it were allowed, it would show plenty of positive gains. Especially since, food stamps helped 3.6 million people, the tax credit helped an additional 3 million out of poverty, followed by Social Security and unemployment benefits. Not only that but the expansion of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program made it possible for over a half-million children to have health coverage.
Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.
There are two new rituals about the yearly census reports on poverty in America. One is that the census figures show more Americans continue to sink into poverty. The poverty rate this year jumped to the highest level in nearly two decades. Those hardest hit remain the same. Blacks and Hispanics were nearly twice as likely as whites to be poor. But racial distinctions aside, the census figures showed that there were a lot of poor whites too, and what’s become an increasingly even more common trend is that many of those who tumbled into the poverty column are those who at one time were by all measures considered middle class.
The other ritual is that the news of rising poverty makes headlines one day. And the next it is forgotten. This year is no different. Not one of the GOP presidential candidates made mention of the poverty rate jump. The White House was equally mum on the report. Poverty remains the taboo word on the campaign stump, among lawmakers, the media, and the general public. It remains even a taboo word among many of the poor.
Political and public references to poverty virtually disappeared from the nation’s vocabulary by the end of the 1960s. The continued existence of so many poor people after a decade of civil rights gains, the rash of initiatives and programs to end poverty, and massive government spending on the poverty programs by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s, was ultimate proof to many that tossing money and programs at ending poverty was flawed, failed, and wasteful. It seemed to fly squarely in the face of the embedded laissez faire notion that the poor in America aren’t poor because of any failing of the system, but because of their personal failings. This is not just the hard bitten attitude of GOP free market conservatives. It is the attitude of the majority of Americans, including many of those who were poor. When poverty started to inch up in 2001, National Public Radio (NPR), the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School, conducted a national poll to find out just what Americans attributed poverty in the nation too. The terms that were bandied about by many of the respondents no matter their background was that the poor were “unmotivated,” “lacked aspirations to get ahead,” and “didn’t work hard enough.” A majority believed America was a place where with hard work and determination anyone could succeed. In other words, the loud message was that if you’re poor, it’s your fault, don’t blame society, and especially don’t look to government to be the cure.
Democratic presidents and presidential contenders took this message to heart. Still reeling from the fierce conservative backlash to the perceived failure of Johnson’s war on poverty, they gingerly moved around making any public pronouncements about massive government spending hikes on welfare, income supplement, and health care programs for the next two decades. The Democrats trembled that such talk would only stir up white anger by reinforcing the old perception that Democrats tilt toward minorities, and especially blacks.
But the poor stubbornly refused to go away. There was some hope during the 2008 presidential campaign that Democrats might lift the taboo about talking about the plight of the poor. Democratic presidential contender John Edwards fueled that hope when he openly talked about poverty, and that he would the issue one of the centerpieces of his campaign. In a well publicized appearance, Edwards launched his presidential campaign in the front yard of a mangled brick house in New Orleans’s mostly black, Katrina and poverty devastated Upper Ninth Ward. He talked boldly about the need to crusade against poverty. Democratic presidential rivals Obama, and Hillary Clinton, not to be outdone, also gave speeches challenging the nation to do more to alleviate poverty. The talk didn’t last. With the exception of Edwards, whose candidacy quickly disintegrated after public revelations about his love tryst, the candidates didn’t utter another word about poverty during the rest of the campaign. The GOP presidential contender, John McCain, as expected, made no mention of poverty as a policy issue either.
The mantra for the GOP and many Democrats are deficit reduction, tax cuts, and measured, and narrow spending on infrastructure projects to jump start the economy. The widespread view that government should play a minimal role in assisting the poor has crept through in President Obama’s speeches and talks in which he touts personal responsibility as the key to uplift. It would be the height of political and fiscal incorrectness, even heresy, to expect that to change in Obama’s drive to keep and the GOP’s drive snatch back the White House.
The ritual census figures that show that the number of poor continue to grow with little end in sight to the rise hasn’t budged the nation to do anything about their plight. Poverty is the forbidden word that sadly is doomed for now to remain America’s taboo word.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on KTYM Radio Los Angeles streamed on ktym.com podcast on blogtalkradio.com and internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson
(New York Times) — Another 2.6 million people slipped into poverty in the United States last year, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday, and the number of Americans living below the official poverty line, 46.2 million people, was the highest number in the 52 years the bureau has been publishing figures on it. And in new signs of distress among the middle class, median household incomes fell last year to levels last seen in 1997. Economists pointed to a telling statistic: It was the first time since the Great Depression that median household income, adjusted for inflation, had not risen over such a long period, said Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard. “This is truly a lost decade,” Mr. Katz said. “We think of America as a place where every generation is doing better, but we’re looking at a period when the median family is in worse shape than it was in the late 1990s.” The bureau’s findings were worse than many economists expected, and brought into sharp relief the toll the past decade — including the painful declines of the financial crisis and recession —had taken on Americans at the middle and lower parts of the income ladder. It is also fresh evidence that the disappointing economic recovery has done nothing for the country’s poorest citizens.
It seems that in the last decade, there’s been a lot of bad news for the U.S. economy and just when things seemed to be getting better, they got worse. A new report by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that the national poverty rate has risen to 15.1% which is the highest rate reported since 1983. That percentage roughly translates to 46.2 million Americans living below the poverty line.
Unemployment and the shrinking of the economy is the culprit for the stunning poverty levels. In addition, median income fell 2.3 percent between 2009-2010. As the cost of living is increasing, salaries are not keeping up. Nearly 50 million Americans lack health insurance, which includes freelancers and those with full-time jobs whose employers have cuts costs by cutting health insurance.
With many jobs going overseas and demands of the economy rapidly changing, it’s time for the American economy to embrace fruitful change.