WHAT IS POVERTY?
The U.S. Government defines poverty based on the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The guidelines used today are based on research conducted in the 1960s. The research was intended to measure whether average income was adequate to provide sufficient family nutrition. Federal Poverty Guidelines reflect what is too little for a family to live on, not what is enough. Consequently, the guidelines do not include the costs of health care, child support obligations, home or renter insurance premiums, transportation and vehicle maintenance costs, life insurance, and other common expenses of daily living.
WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS OF POVERTY?
People living in conditions of poverty are unable to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, heat, utilities, clothing, transportation, health and child care. Typically, families living at or above the federal poverty level are economically insecure. At times, they must choose which basic needs they will fulfill for their family. When these decisions are made, families may go without food, become evicted from their homes or lack financial resources for transportation and/or child care, thus leading to loss of employment.
Take a glimpse of what it’s like to live in poverty:
A family of 4 who is at the poverty level may have a monthly income of $1,921 (Annual Income $23,050). How far does that amount take the family?
Monthly Income $1,921
Estimated Monthly Expenses
Child Care $210
Health Care (Insurance, Co-pays, Prescriptions) $221
Remaining Balance -$187
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF POVERTY?
If left unaddressed, poverty has far reaching consequences on communities and society. Here
are a few consequences of poverty:
• Less earning power and therefore less money that can be brought into the economy from people buying goods and services
• Loss of human potential and productivity
• Reduction of workforce readiness and economic competitiveness
• Family instability and breakup
• A growing number of seniors supported by fewer workers earning less money
DID YOU KNOW?
In our service area, there are over 71,000 individuals living in poverty. The most significant challenge for our service area, is without question the issue of poverty.
A myth about poverty is that poor people are “lazy” and “reliant upon government welfare programs” for income. The reality is that many people living in poverty work two or three jobs just to make
– The Community Assets and Critical Issues Report
“Economic segregation – not related to race or ethnicity – is the greatest challenge for the area.”
– Muscogee County Resident
American Psychological Association (2015)
Enrichment Services Program’s 2015 Community Assessment
U.S. Census Bureau (2015)