- NEW Reentry Staff
Poverty is a societal failing
We all benefit from the skills and talents of those around us. We have access to fresh vegetables all year round because of the farmers who grow and store our food. It’s easy to access that food because of the truck drivers and store workers. Our vehicles allow us to carry large quantities of food to our homes which were built by construction workers.
But how does poverty fit into that? Knowing that we all benefit from each other’s work, it would seem like poverty means the poor person is at fault due to their own laziness or lack of contribution. But when you know someone in poverty, you know that’s not true.
People living in poverty don’t have access to the same resources and opportunities that those in the middle or upper classes have. Low-income people are less likely to have health insurance, have lower-paying jobs, live in unsafe homes, and often struggle to make ends meet. It’s hard to buy vegetables when you only have $20 for your entire weekly food budget. And you lack money because your minimum wage job doesn’t pay enough for you to cover all your expenses. You would get another job, but the only available jobs in your community are minimum wage, and you don’t qualify for higher-paying jobs. Then why don’t you get some training? Where does one go to get forklift certified? How do you get a sales certification? College is out – you don’t have enough money for proper food, how would you go to college?
The more you look into poverty the more you learn that it’s society that’s failing the low-income. Society is defined as a group of people who agree to work together for the benefit of those around them and themselves. If society is an agreement to work together for the betterment of all, how could there be poor people? It’s because, for various reasons, the benefits of living in a society are withheld from them. This leads to higher rates of poverty, especially in rural communities.
A high poverty rate damages the nation’s economic progress. When people do not have enough money to purchase food or necessities, economic growth is harder to achieve. This stunts the economy and the local community, making it harder to improve and advance.
A high poverty rate can also cause an increase in crime. Living in poverty often means parents are working multiple jobs so they aren’t as emotionally and physically available to their children as their middle- or upper-class counterparts. This can make children seek other people to fulfill that family need, which may result in them joining a gang or affiliating with undesirable people. Some people in poverty may resort to stealing in order to get the resources they need to survive. Being able to live in a neighborhood with access to good schooling, medicine, and food resources, will help to lower crime rates and poverty rates.
Poor health is one of the biggest consequences of high poverty. Poor health affects children’s performance at school and work. This leads to long-term problems as children develop into adults unless proper resources can be provided to those in need.
Families could also split apart and suffer major consequences due to poverty. Some families send their children to live with aunts and uncles or grandparents because they cannot afford to care for them. For some, poverty may lead to the state forcing their children into foster care.
Perhaps by working together to help provide everyone access to the resources they need to thrive, these problems may be avoided or reduced. This can be as simple as opening more food pantries or investing in better public transportation. You can impact the lives of low-income families around you by donating your time and resources to local non-profits who help people in need.
If poverty is a societal failing, then the cure is a societal shift. If we work together, poverty can be eradicated.