Challenges to Domestic and International Poverty Policy

In: Social Issues

Submitted By springboard
Words 1985
Pages 8
January 16, 2011

Challenges to Domestic and International Poverty Policy

The most recent Census Bureau statistics on poverty rates in the United States calculate that 14.3% of Americans were living in poverty in 2009, up from 13.7% in 2008. That corresponds to 43.6 million people living below the poverty threshold compared to 39.8 million the previous year, the third consecutive annual increase. (US Census Bureau) These numbers increase even further when using new standards suggested by the National Academy of Sciences in a 1995 report. These figures, released as an unofficial “Supplemental Poverty Measure” set the 2009 rate at 15.7%, or more than 47.8 million people. (Short, US Census Bureau) The global rates are even more astonishing, with reporting World Bank data that has roughly 40% living on less than USD$2 per day, and a stunning 80% living on less than USD$10 per day in 2005. UNICEF estimates that 22,000 children under five years of age die of preventable diseases every single day. These are all sobering statistics, making the ravages of poverty both more concrete and more difficult to accept. An exploration of poverty, both domestic and international, involves a variety of fields and methods, from statistics to sociology, political science to psychology, and more. Such a multi-disciplinary topic allows for a wide range of different perspectives, and an array of different approaches.

As we see with the two different sets of data from the Census Bureau, and as Lister points out, the study of poverty is heavily influenced by the concepts and definitions adopted by the researcher, and the corresponding measurement standards applied. The basic Census Bureau statistics, for example, are based on the cost of an average “basket of goods”, a design that was formulated by Molly Orshansky of the Social Security Administration in 1963.…...

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