There is a very wide range of income for individuals and families. This is why wehave people that are very wealthy which are referred to as the upper class and there is themiddle class that makes an average income, and the bottom of the income bracket lies thepeople in poverty. Poverty is a condition in which a person or family does not have themeans to satisfy basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. Your racedoes not matter, every race has people that are in poverty. But as it is statistically shown,different races have a different number of people in poverty. In 1996, the federalgovernment established a minimum income level below which a person or family isdeclared in poverty.

If a single person makes less than $7,995 then they are living inpoverty, and a family has to exceed $16,036 or are also in poverty.From 1996 to 1997 the poverty rate has decreased by .4% In 1996, there was36.5 million people at the poverty level and in 1997 the number of people in povertydecreased to 35.

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6 million people. Since a decade ago the poverty level has increased from32.4 million people to as high as 39.3 million in 1993, but since 1993 the number ofpeople living in poverty has decreased to 35.

6 million people.The percent of the population a decade ago below the poverty was 13.1%, whichhas increases up to 15.1% but here recently the poverty rate is back down to 13.3%Gentry-2Since the previous year the poverty rate was lower by .4% for the generalpopulation. The poverty rate of children under the age of eighteen has also decreased by.

6%. The black poverty rate decreased the most from 28.4% to 26.5%. The Asians and Pacific Islanders had a decrease in their poverty rate by .

5%. The whites had the smallestdecrease out of all races because they decreased only by .2%. There are many differentfactors that contribute to the decreasing of the poverty rates, from the decrease of theunemployment to the decrease in government income maintenance programs.A lot of the poverty population is made up of income-maintenance programs. Iwould like to talk about few of the programs that the government offers for people inpoverty.

Social insurance programs is the first. There are many different types to thesocial insurance program. The first two are OASDHI and Medicare. OASDHI is alsoknown as social security, which replaces wages lost after retirement.

Medicare provideshospital insurance for the elderly and disabled. The third type is unemploymentcompensation which allows workers that are unemployed for a while to collect thirty-fivepercent of their lost wages. The second program is Pubic Assistance. The first type isSupplemental Security Income(SSI) this program allows disabled people to receive aminimum income. Aid to Families with Dependent Children(AFDC) and Medicaid usuallyare linked together. Medicaid will pay for hospital bills. AFDC provides certain familieswith children financial support.

Medicaid is also offered to SSI recipiances. The foodstamp program is the last type. It provides Americans with coupons that can be used forfood. The government spends about 736 billion of its dollars on these different types ofprograms.

Gentry-3The government provides people in poverty that are in the public assistanceprograms with three different plans. They are supposed to help able-bodied, nonretiredindividuals get out of poverty. The three different plans have many different conflicts. Some of the conflicts are that the government is paying too much money out to thepeople, which means they will be dependent on the government for their income instead ofworking for it.

Another conflict is that it is very costly to the government to keep payingfor able-bodied workers. These conflicts are what stir up many different welfare reforms. All fifty states have income-maintenance programs, but the qualifications and rulevary from state to state. In each state, they calculate their poverty rates. The number ofstates that had an increase in poverty rate, in 1995 to 1997 was twenty-two states. Theother twenty-eight states had a decrease in poverty rate. From 1996 to 1997 there werethree states: Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina that had a poverty decrease whiletwo states Arkansas and New Hampshire showed increases in their poverty rate.

To answer the question, is poverty on the rise? The answer is no. Poverty for thetime being is declining. There are more and more people giving better jobs or getting offpublic assistance programs. In my own opinion, poverty is decreasing because people arerealizing that public assistance programs are getting tougher and tougher to receivebenefits and they wont be around for ever. Today, it may have finally made it through topeople that the value of a higher education is pretty much a necessity to succeed.



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