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Poverty – It Affects Everything Essay, Research Paper

?There are starving kids over in Zimbabwe. Eat your vegetables.? This may sound familiar to most people when they were growing up. As a child, though, it is always assumed that Mom was just making up something so the vegetables would not be left over for the next day?s dinner. When that child grows up, however, his eyes will be opened and will realize that there really are kids starving in Zimbabwe and in every country in the world, even the United States of America. The people of this nation do not realize that poverty is a widespread thing. A census states that in the year 2000 275,917,000 people were found to be in a state poverty. 23,261,000 of those were under the age of six. Bacon cites, ??We must remember that we still have a great many poor people (250).?? Poverty affects everything. The three most common aspects of society that is affected by poverty are human needs, class, and lifestyle.

The first aspect of society that is affected by poverty is human needs. Everyone has needs. The three most common are food and water, shelter, and health. If one is taken away, then there is no chance of survival. Poverty is the reason many people end up sick or without homes. To some it may seem that they are poor because they do not have more than one car for the family. As Bacon relates, ?But others are far closer to physical need (250).? What is poverty? What is being poor? According to Encarta, poverty is the condition of having insufficient resources or income. In poverty there is a vicious cycle that seems almost unbeatable. For example, a man that lives in poverty only needs money to be out of poverty. To get money he would have to get a job. To get a job that would pull him, and his family, out of poverty, he would have to have references from past jobs. To get references from past jobs, he would have to have had a past job. This is where the cycle starts. It can only be broken when the man decides to start at a small job and work his way up. That is the only way anyone can find a good job.

The second aspect of society that is affected by poverty is class. Here in the U.S. there is supposedly no class system. However, it is not hard to see the difference between one street lined with broken down houses with pealing paint and another street with large houses spaced acres apart. The segregation of people into classes is unavoidable. If one has more money, one has more possessions. It is human nature to want the things that others have. Poverty also splits people into category by jobs. A CEO of a bank is not likely to be waiting for the next check to come in so he can feed his family. However, it may be all the burger-flipper at the local fast food place can do to take care of his wife and new baby. Also, social circles are formed because of poverty. People of different pay brackets probably do not shop at the same stores. If one person buys her food with food stamps, it is a probability that she is not going to go to an expensive international store that has their food flown in fresh from different countries. A woman that is a member of many country clubs and saunas will most likely not want to go down to the local bingo hall. Poverty will always affect class. Only people can stop the segregation and start blurring the lines between the classes.

The third and final aspect of society that is affected by poverty is lifestyle. Poverty causes stress unduly on everyone in the family. Teenagers are tempted to turn to other things that will help them find security, something poverty will not give them. Adults are tempted to give up responsibilities and escape to something else. A boy might turn to drugs because his father was laid off this week for the third time in two months. A girl might turn to a boyfriend and become sexually involved, trying to find acceptance. One father may have to deal with severe depression because his daughter is embarrassed of him. A mother may have tried and failed to commit suicide several times because her son has become a gang member. A three-year-old boy may cry every night because his mom and dad are fighting. Society looks down on these people. Is it fair to judge people based on the money that they make? People that are in poverty only seem to be poorer around normal society. If there was a small town of people that are normally called poor, then the people do not seem as deprived. Bacon states, ?There is what may be called insular poverty?that which manifests itself as an ?island? of poverty. In the island, everyone one or nearly everyone is poor.? If everyone or nearly everyone is poor, then there is no one to compare to. The streets may be lined with broken down homes on one side, but the other side is lined with the very same.

Poverty affects three aspects of society, which are human needs, class, and lifestyle. One must remember that, in order to deal with poverty, he cannot discriminate. Poverty affects everyone, not just the poor. Helping out one person could help out many people. Human needs need to be taken care of. Class needs to be done away with. The poverty lifestyle needs to be forgotten. People that have been in poverty need to be taken and put back into the system. The system that has been keeping people in poverty needs to be fixed.


Galbraith, John Kenneth. ?The Position of Poverty.? A World of Ideas. 8th ed. Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin?s, 2002. 250-257.

Dalaker, Joseph. U.S. Census Bureau. Current Population Reports. Series P60-214. ?Poverty in the United States: 2000.? U.S. Government Printing Office. Washington, DC, 2001.

Marshall, Alfred. Principles of Economics. 8th ed. London: Macmillan, 1927. 2-4.

Encarta Encyclopedia 2001. ?Poverty.” Microsoft. 1993-2000. Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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