Clients and the “Poverty Mindset:” What is the connection? Part II

Poverty is an extensive and complex topic that no amount of literature can describe it fully. Personally, I would love for poverty not to exist and for each human, animal, and plant to coexist in harmony without destruction. That is my dream. That is not the reality we live in.

Some would argue that poverty serves a purpose. It is part of the natural order of the animal kingdom along with competition and survival of the fitness.  I do not know what the purpose of poverty is, but what I do know is it does exist. 1 in 6 Americans experience hunger as a reality. 

True or false. “Most individuals struggling with hunger are homeless and out of work.”………………….False!

According to Feeding America, “only 10%” of their client households are “homeless” and another “36%” of individuals served by the organization/network have at least one working adult in their household.

True or False. “Very few children struggle with hunger because there are programs to take care of them.”…………………..False!

According to the Feeding America, they report that the USDA says that more than 17 million children are living in “food-insecure households.”

True or False. “Even college-educated people struggle with issues of hunger in this country.”………..True!

According to Feeding America, 17% of adults interviewed during the Hunger Study have attended college or a technical school.

True or False. “More than 2 million rural households experience food insecurity.”…………….True!

According to Feeding America, more than 2 million rural households do not have dependable access to enough food to sustain a healthy life style.

True or False. “Over 50 million Americans don’t have dependable, consistent access to enough food due to limited money and resources.”……………True!

According to Feed America, they report the USDA reporting over 50 million Americans have limited resources that prevents them from getting enough food.

In 2011, 46.2 million people in the USA were in poverty. That is between 15% of the population. 26.5 million people aged 18-64 years were in poverty in 2011. 16.1 million or 21.9 percent of those in poverty are under the age of 18 in 2011.  The Southern part of the USA compared to other regions continues to have the “highest poverty rate” among families in rural areas. 50.7% of individuals in families that have female head of the households living in rural areas were experiencing poverty in 2011 compared to 35% in the suburbs.8.7% or 3.6 million adults 65 and older live below the poverty line in 2011. 12.8% of African Americans live less than 50% of the federal poverty threshold compared to the overall statistic of 6.6% in the USA. 10.5% of Hispanics live less than 50% of the federal poverty line compared to the overall statistic of 6.6.% in the USA. 16% of New York State’s population lived in poverty in 2011. 

Hunger exists. Poverty exists. Certain populations are more vulnerable to poverty than others exists. What are the reasons for this? Part III will try to answer the factors that contribute to poverty on a global level in the United States.


Written by: Audrey Haven, LMSW

SJS Staff Writer

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