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Poverty in America: A Handbook

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In a remarkably concise, readable, and accessible format, John Iceland provides a comprehensive picture of poverty in America, He shows how poverty is measured and understood and how it has changed over time, as well as how public policies have grappled with poverty as a political issue and an economic reality. This edition has been updated and includes a new preface.


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In a remarkably concise, readable, and accessible format, John Iceland provides a comprehensive picture of poverty in America, He shows how poverty is measured and understood and how it has changed over time, as well as how public policies have grappled with poverty as a political issue and an economic reality. This edition has been updated and includes a new preface.

30 review for Poverty in America: A Handbook

  1. 5 out of 5

    Adam Wilsman

    Introduction Arguments laid out: -Views of poverty vary over time and place (What it means to be poor today is not the same as what it meant...) -The persistence of poverty in the United States reflects more than just an aggregation of individual failings. (structural factors) -antipoverty policies constitute a relatively small part of the federal budget and have only a moderate impact on poverty. Who cares? Children raised in poor families are less healthy, worse off in terms of their cognitive deve Introduction Arguments laid out: -Views of poverty vary over time and place (What it means to be poor today is not the same as what it meant...) -The persistence of poverty in the United States reflects more than just an aggregation of individual failings. (structural factors) -antipoverty policies constitute a relatively small part of the federal budget and have only a moderate impact on poverty. Who cares? Children raised in poor families are less healthy, worse off in terms of their cognitive development, school achievement, and emotional well-being. Poverty begets poverty. POverty costly: crime, health costs, forgone earnings. can beget violence. Myths: poor are inner-city black. Overrepresented, make up less than 25% of the population living in poverty. People think poor do not work. Over 60% of poor families have at least one worker. Not necessarily a cycle, people go in and know. Many suppose welfare programs are a major part of the federal budget, not so. Chapter 1: Early Views of Poverty in America Early 1900s, concept of deserving and undeserving poor. Concept of "poverty line" emerges in the 1950s and 1960s. Chapter 3: Characteristics of the Poverty Population 2011: the official poverty rate is 15%, 46.2 million Americans lived in poverty. Elderly poverty rate 8.7%, poverty rates of adults 13.7%l, 21.9% of children poor. What accounts for difference? Older people vote: social security. Table 1 (p. 42) - Poverty Rates by Individuals by Demographic Characteristics. About 14.5% of the population reported some level of food insecurity in 2010. Not enough food. With regard to health care, 15.7 percent of the population lacked health insurance, though a smaller proportion--6.8% reported not seeing a doctor when it was necessary. Between 5 and 10 percent of households reported a problem with a leaking roof, pests such as mice or cockroaches, or a lot of trash or litter on their streets. 6.1% missed a rent or mortgage payment due to insufficient funds. 1 in 10 missed a utility bill. 14.4% reported that they were not able to meet an essential expense at one point during the year. In 2009, an estimated .5 percent of the population used an emergency shelter at some point during the year: 1.56 million people. 41% of poor households owned their own home. 75% owned a car, truck, or van. Most people own fridges, telephones, microwaves, and TVs. Half do not have a PC, more than half no internet. "In the United States, people who do not have access to a car may have trouble holding a job, given the decentralized character of many American cities and the inadequacy of many local public transportation systems." Poverty rate has been consistent since the 1960s: 11-15%, but that population has evolved a great deal. People go in and out of poverty. "Despite the brief duration of many poverty spells, it is quite common for people who leave poverty to fall back into it some time later." Research has shown that there is close to a 50 percent correlation between fathers' and sons' income, indicating that one's family background is quite important. Economic mobility lower in US than most of Europe. Why the correlation? 1. Children of poor parents more stressed out, cognitive results. Affects parental, marital relations. Poverty rates across the states: 8.8 percent in New Hampshire, 22.6 percent in Mississippi. Tennessee 18.3. "Declines in poverty in the U.S. more or less stalled by the early 1970s, and then poverty noticeably worsened in the wake of the severe economic recession in 2007-2009. Poverty is more pervasive among some groups, such as children, minorities, high school dropouts, female-headed families. Chapter 4: Global Poverty "First, in absolute terms, poverty in the United States qualitatively differs from that in the developing world, where poverty is still often measured in terms of having sufficient resources to stay alive. Second, despite high general standards of living, the United States suffers from considerably more poverty and inequality than most other developed countries with similar standards of living." Chart showing relative poverty of several countries on p. 70. Main culprit is lower government transfers to low-income families in the U.S. Higher income inequality. Lack of social mobility when compared to the rest of the developed world. Particularly low for the poorest Americans. Chapter 5: Causes of Poverty Inequality on the rise since the 1970s: less demand for low-skilled workers, more demand for computer literate, college-educated workers w/globalization, low-skill workers increasingly need to compete with low-skill workers around the world. Decline in unions. 11% unionized in 2011, down from 29 percent in 1975. Nonunionized workers are paid less and have less job security. Poverty rate for African Americans in 2011, 27.6%. Lower levels of education, employment, and wages, and outright discrimination. The civil rights movement abolished legal forms of racial and ethnic discrimination, and whites are less likely to express blatantly racist attitudes than they did in past decades. Nevertheless, as the salience of race has declined, the importance of socioeconomic background has increased. For example, although the black-white reading gap was substantially larger than the rich-poor reading gap in the 1940s, by the 2000s, the reverse was true.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Adam Kanter

    Informative and organized very well. Great reading for anyone trying to learn about poverty and what can be done to try and halt the steady high rates of it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    This is V!

    I found this book very informative and compelling . It had all the infos with nice charts to understand the phenomenon of poverty in the USA . Highly recommended to scholars of poverty

  4. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Poverty in America is a good starting point for understanding how Americans view poverty, misconceptions that center around poverty, and the tricky issue of how we even define poverty. This was required reading for one of my courses this quarter, and at first I was in love. The first three chapters were both easy to read and incredibly informative. Unfortunately, my opinion deteriorated from there. Their chapter describing their own research findings (Chapter 6) was particularly dense for someone Poverty in America is a good starting point for understanding how Americans view poverty, misconceptions that center around poverty, and the tricky issue of how we even define poverty. This was required reading for one of my courses this quarter, and at first I was in love. The first three chapters were both easy to read and incredibly informative. Unfortunately, my opinion deteriorated from there. Their chapter describing their own research findings (Chapter 6) was particularly dense for someone without a background in economics. By the time I moved on to the final chapters, I was forcing myself to finish for the sake of finishing. I would recommend a portion of this book for those interested in the topic, but would also recommend leaving the latter half to those trained or fascinated by economics.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    Well-organized book gives a well-informed broad overview of poverty.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I only read parts of this for school, so I can't really review it. But, if you haven't had a course on poverty, this is a good primer for viewing and understanding Poverty in America. I only read parts of this for school, so I can't really review it. But, if you haven't had a course on poverty, this is a good primer for viewing and understanding Poverty in America.

  7. 4 out of 5

    B Sarv

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  9. 4 out of 5

    Benjamingibbs

  10. 5 out of 5

    Indivar

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amber

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alex Lewis

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lavena Staten

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meg

  16. 4 out of 5

    britt

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine Boehnke

  18. 5 out of 5

    Megan Mitchell

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christie

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ali

  23. 5 out of 5

    Juan A De LLano

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessi

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bailey

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  29. 4 out of 5

    Oluwarotimi Lademo

  30. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

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