What We Know About Poverty: We Are Not Alone

What we know about poverty in America is that northeastern North Carolina is not alone. There are more than 46 million persons living in poverty in America making less than $23,000 a year to meet the needs of a family of four. When it comes to our kids, over 21% of them live in poverty and have public supports such as food stamps to help meet their daily nutritional needs at a total of some 46 million families needing food stamp supports. Disaggregating kid poverty numbers, over 38% of African-American kids are in poverty and Hispanic kids a little over 32%. In North Carolina, for example, 40.2 African-American kids between the ages of 0-17 are in poverty.

Across our nation, the average stay on public supports is little over three years with some bouncing on and off reconfiguring this estimation for some to be 12 years. Of all the people in poverty that fit age appropriate eligibility guidelines, about half are employed full or part-time and still living in poverty.

African Americans have the highest unemployment rate at over 27% with their white counterpart at about 9.7%. Asian unemployment is said to be about 12.3% and Hispanics a little over 25%.

What we know about fraud and abuse among the poor receiving supports, is that they may not be as invasive as assumed. Underlying legislative discussions about cuts to public supports, centers around fraud and abuse. Data substantiating large-scale  abuse is not found within the context of guidelines for eligibility. The USDA notes, for example, that of all the Food Stamp support that is awarded, fraud only accounts for 1% of the total. Data does not consider the number of families on supports that some call lazy and “too sorry” to work and provide for their family.

When it comes to family self-sufficiency, there are a number of barriers that could delay a family from well-being scales.  Poverty can influence cognitive, emotional, sociological, educational and employment measures. Cuts to some of the poor’s most basic staples, impacts more than the adults who may or may not have motives that the public is in agreement with for meeting eligibility guidelines  but such supports are needful. Identifying ways to satisfy cumbersome legislation that rejects the needs of the poor, is of urgency. Self sufficiency is a “whole” person construct- mind, soul, body and spirit. It is a wellness measure that takes into consideration measures much more comprehensive than having a job and being employed.