According to the government of United States, poverty is a situation where by an individual or a community lacking the most important things to maintain a standard living level. Measures of poverty level were created in the mid 60s in war with war on poverty agenda. According to these measures poverty level is put at average of the cost of three full meals. The level differs according to family members and it is also updated every year. Today nearly 13% of total United States population is below the poverty line.
This paper will try to examine the poverty levels in California and compare it with the rest of the nation, and analyze the causes and effects of poverty. It will also review the differences in poverty level among different demographic groups and other groups that emergency for example American blacks and also examine programs for the poor. In the recent past Poverty in California has increase and is more than the national level, being at 13. 3 % as opposed to the national average of 12. 7% as in 2004.
In the whole country California is 15th in poverty ranking. Though, the official ranking does not consider the high standards of living in California. If we make the adjustment then California poverty index goes up to 16. 1% becoming the 3rd in poverty level. Poverty in California differs very much by area and by demographic characteristics of the population. According to statistics, poverty level in young children is the highest, being 21% more than of any other age cluster, while women are poorer than men averaging 16% against the men who are 14%.
If you compare poverty among California Latinos and the African American versus the poverty level of the whites in California you find that the difference is marginally as it is 20% and 9% respectively. The biggest poverty ratios are among those families that adults in the family don’t have a high school education thus lack a diploma in education. Poverty in women is high than in men being at 16% as opposed to that of men which is 14%.
This is much pronounced in women who are in age bracket of 18 to 29 this can be attributed to the factor that singles parents are likely to be young women. Another reason for more women being power than men is because older women are likely to be not married, have poor retirement remuneration and have less social security benefits as compared to the men. It should be noted that poverty level in older women is 16% against 11%. Factors that cause poverty are diverse and many. These factors can be caused by the society, nature or human policies. Let us examine the major causes.
An individual can become poor because he/she was born in a poor family, and face discrimination from he society, lack a role model and be brought up by a single parent, all this will lead to generational poverty. Poverty also can occur do to a situation, this occur when difficult situations occur and lead to loss of property for example in a natural calamity such as that of hurricane Katrina, and earthquakes. Other major causes of poverty are discrimination in terms of race, ethical background, religious affiliation and other discriminatory issues.
His discrimination limits opportunities of those who are being discriminated against, and denies them self recognition. Another factor that lead to poverty is social stratification, in the case of minimum wage issue in California when it 2006 the minimum wage was increase but still the garment workers and farm workers did not get the minimum wages this of course will perpetuate their poverty. On the side men, continue to be poor because of some sexism regulation favoring women. For example, many plans to reduce poverty include an increment in child support where a man should pay more.
In line with this some industry do not practice equal opportunity policy in job recruitment where by favoring men or women even if the other gender is highly qualified. The effects of social and economic effects of poverty on families are disturbing and need to be addressed. Poverty denies an individual the self esteem, particularly if one is working and still has a problem caring for him/her self or the family. The major effects of poverty in the society are creation of homeless families has they can not afford housing.
In addition the poor suffer from poor nutrition because they lack proper meals. Since most of people lack medical insurance policies, they end up going to emergency rooms whenever they are sick thus, straining the community and the health providers as a whole. On emotionally level, poverty leads to depression in some individuals and mental stability. Child poverty in California is on high level; the number of children who live under poverty level according to Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is 19% against the national figure of 17. %.
From the CDF data of 2003, more than 1. 75 million kids in California stayed in families who se income was less than the federal poverty line of around $15,000 for each family of three. These figures translate to about 1for every 5 children in the whole of California. These figures have deer consequences, in that children from poor families are most likely to die in their infancy period, will have less weight at the time of birth, most likely will lack proper medical care, face poor housing and lack sufficient food.
In addition the child will perform poorly in school. It is surprising that, these figures appear at a stage when tax reductions for those who are wealth have been given the centre stage over the plight of children’s plans on the national level, and when important services planed to assist the children in California are in serious danger due to grave budget imbalance. California is the 40th state in the whole nation; this means that 39 states experience lower poverty level in children than California.
According to statistics provided by the Centre of Hunger and Poverty, 1 out of 10 households in California are at risk of experiencing hunger, while more than 5. 1 people in California are found in the areas that have food-insecurity and the number includes over 2 million kids. The data further reveals that over 1. 2 million persons go without meals or eat less. According to the statistics on poverty, it is apparent that the measures being taken by the authorities on poverty reduction do not full address the issue.
The measures and policies taken do not increase the income entitlement and overall benefits to in proportions with the increase in standard of living. The measures provided seem to be general while issues of poverty are specific and differ in each house hold. Poverty in California differ according to various areas in the region, according to the figures, it was found out that san Francisco bay had the lowest poverty level at 7%, other areas that had low figures of poverty are orange county, San Diego bay, and Sacramento region.
In contrast areas with high poverty level were; Central coast, San Joaquin valley, Inland Empire and also the Los Angles County. These differences can be due to different demographic composition of the region. For example it was found out that regions which have high poverty level seem to have many foreigners especially the Latinos. Who very poor in California Poverty also is very high for those who are living have single mothers; it was found out that 37% poor people are single mothers. Although single mothers are few in California compared to the rest of the country.
Although, the labor markets have improved the earning of women in the recent years, the rate of poverty is still high. It is also certain that level of education help reduce poverty. In the studies carried out, they showed that, those parents who go up to high school and get diploma education have higher chances of living better. Racism is also a major factor that contribute to poverty, historical and the current institutional racism increase poverty levels, since qualified but, non native white American are dined job opportunities based on their skin color origin.
Looking at the statistics it true that many American blacks are poorer compared to the white American. Conclusion Poverty remains a major issue in California that requires proper measures and better policies to be implemented to reduce poverty. Cheap and affordable houses need to be constructed for reduce the homeless issue. More jobs need to be created to avail employment to more people. And better children policies need to carried-out to save a generation. It is also necessary to provide equal opportunities for both men and women.