Causes of poverty in the U.S. – sociological perspectives

The approaches that would better reduce poverty have been argued across the board. A clearly implicated source of poverty reduction however is economic growth (Adams 2004). Income levels are associated with economic growth with income inequalities being implicated in disparities in different levels of growth and well being of the people. (Kim 1997; Qin et al. 2009). This association thus means that strategies aimed in reducing poverty, especially when income inequalities have been noted in the population, should take into consideration the social aspects attributed to result into poverty. One of these aspects is the discrimination in employment that results from ethnic affiliations. Such has been noted to be the case in the United States in the current study.

Poverty among the population has been attributed to a variety of sources. Poverty could for example result from individual choices (Bradshaw 2007), but the findings that racial affiliation can play an important role in wealth acquisition and accumulation (Martin 2009), reveals that such a source is not to blame for the observed differences in the US scenario. Another arguable cause of poverty has been proposed as in inheritance as a cultural and sub-cultural phenomenon among a group of persons (Bradshaw 2007). This has further been buttressed by the studies that have found a strong relationship between poverty and family structure and subsequent intergenerational transmission of such poverty (Musick, and Mare 2006). The racial inequalities observed in the US could be attributed to such a cause but studies have not shown any particular references to racial preference for a poverty culture in any ethnic believes. Further, though on a minimal trend, the minorities have been shown to have advanced their clamor to acquire relevant skills that improve their earnings but ethnic affiliation still remains a hindrance (Snipp and Hirschman 2005; Carnoy 1996). Such then indicates that the poverty and income inequalities in the United States may not be solved by strategies that target cultural overall of the minority groups.

Other reasons have been advanced as to result into individuals languish in poverty. Strategies aimed at two of these – poverty resulting from geographical inequalities and that from cumulative and repetitive interdependencies (Bradshaw 2007) – might not prove a solution in the noted scenario. First, for regional inequalities, the administration system devolved to the state and council levels should have already eliminated the observed inequalities. Such causes then would be significant in developing nations where the administration of resources is governed from a central government. Second, causes related to cumulative and repetitive interdependencies, would be significant in countries that restrict the mobility of labor within the regions of birth or migration.

The best explanation for the observed inequalities perhaps lies in the economic and social interactions between various racial groups. The employment inequality as relates the job type (figure 1), income aspects (figure 2) and employment related benefits (figure 3) exemplify such a causative approach of the observed differences between poverty levels of different groups (figure 2). Though the minority may be adequately qualified their inaccessibility of higher paying jobs as compared to the whites (figure 1) – due to discrimination – could be the reason for their lagging behind in the income and employment related aspects such as health insurance coverage. Such a cause then requires approaches that are aimed to change the social fabric of the society to embody the different racial and ethnic affiliations of the population. Continuation of solutions.

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