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Home > The Glover Report > Philosophy of Poverty: New Census Figures Show Shifting Markers of American Want

Philosophy of Poverty: New Census Figures Show Shifting Markers of American Want

marc polite
Marc Polite,

By Marc Polite

(BALTIMORE - December 2, 2011) - The definition of poverty is shifting, according to a recent New York Times article. In a recent piece titled “Voices of The Near Poor” new figures point out that 1 out of every 3 Americans are either poor or “Near Poor” The latter term is used to denote the predicament that an increasing number of people find themselves in nowadays, encapsulated by the well known phrase “one paycheck away.” The charts show that the picture is indeed worse than many experts have imagined.

After this study which finally has caught up to the long existing reality, we can now be rid of the utterly asinine notion that a person is not in poverty if they have a refrigerator or a microwave.  While this is not new information to anyone who has been paying attention on the ground, it does signify a couple of things.

One, poverty has to be more broadly defined to include lack of access as well, not just mere outward destitution.  

Two, the public discourse on American poverty has to become more inclusive of the realities of the working poor.

Three, by implication, the question of the livable wage has to be brought back to the table, despite a dogged insistence upon the focus on cutbacks and reducing spending. These among other things will determine how the issue of poverty must be highlighted, and any organized solutions to it as well.

Marc W. Polite

Tags: marc polite, , USA

What do you think?

3 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Dec 4, 2011 12:30pm [ 1 ]

I have been in poverty for years. I believe that, anyone who struggles with finding a place to stay only to find it to costly to live in find themselves living in poverty because, the place one find hem or herself in is a endless journey inside the world of shelters or painful experiences living with others. I thank God for the Housing Authority even-tho it took years for me to become a tenant.

Marc W. Polite
Dec 7, 2011 12:05pm [ 2 ]

Good afternoon Delores. It is unfortunate that one of the effects of poverty is the lack of plentiful housing. Far too many people in this country find themselves in situations such as yours. Thank you for your comment.


Christy J
Dec 11, 2011 11:23am [ 3 ]

I definitely agree with the "question of the livable wage being brought back to the table." When people cannot feed their families, not only is poverty evident, but crime increases, as well as the death rate, due to both violent crimes and people not being able to afford check-ups, such as high blood pressure, screenings for cancer, etc. and the resulting treatment of these diagnoses.

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