Discussion: Poverty In the US

From the finding of the literature review, poverty is a critical social issue in the United States. Further, the rate of child poverty is alarming and might lead to other social problems. However, the possible strategies for reducing poverty underly in policymaking, social support for equity, education, and healthcare.

In the US, lawmakers have the power to enact policies that focus on poverty eradication. A study has found that “enriching the communities in which poor families live in addition to boosting incomes and directly supporting children’s skill development” (McCarty, 2016, p.623). The government may implement this by creating adequate well-paying jobs, which are available to the federally poor people. This strategy has worked in other countries such as Singapore, where the government is determined to resist the pressures of global issues and upraise the quality of its people by creating 100,000 jobs (Pinghui, 2020). Besides creating jobs, the government may raise the minimum wage. Although past governments have dreaded inflation due to the rise of the minimum wage, it would take millions of Americans from below the poverty margin.

According to the United Nations, ending poverty by 2030 depends on social development (“Ending Poverty by 2030 “, 2020). Further, social equity is imperative in the achievement of substantial social development. For instance, the prevalent gender pay gap that discriminates women by 78 cents for every dollar earned by men should be resolved. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, closing the gender pay gap would reduce poverty by half and increase income to the US economy by $512 billion (Milli, Huang, Hartmann & Hayes, 2017). Besides, closing the gender pay gap is the right thing to do for society. Time and again, studies have revealed the cons of social disparities and the beneficence of equity in society. A pay gap is an immoral act – discrimination against women and a violation of the Equal Pay Act of 1963.


Other solutions to poverty issues include the provision of affordable quality education and healthcare. Studies have shown that poverty is linked to educational outcomes and health in a society (McCarty, 2016). In a way, lack of affordable, high-quality education bars many people from exiting poverty. This arises in contexts where parents incur substantial out-of-pocket costs to educate their children, or they are not able to work to care for their childcare. Hence, the consequence of the current fairly ill-funded education system is that most poor people are not able to afford, thus missing college or they spend a lot on education, challenging their exit into the middle class. Besides, healthcare is a critical factor that influences the patterns of poverty. Like education, quality healthcare is not affordable to most impoverished people. According to a recent report, 25% of Americans are dying because they cannot afford healthcare costs (Sainato, 2020). More than 20 states have thus far refused to expand their Medicaid programs to cover more than 138% of people considered living below the federal poverty margin. In that perspective, failure to provide affordable quality education and healthcare results in increased poverty levels, and thus adverse consequences such as deaths.

In conclusion, poverty is a critical social issue that requires urgent intervention through policymaking, social support for equity, provision of quality education, and healthcare. The government may create more high paying jobs and work on reducing gender pay gaps, which has significant impacts on poverty levels. Since quality education and healthcare are linked to poverty, the government may work on providing affordable quality education and quality healthcare on avoiding adverse implications such as death or lack of college education to potential students.


“Ending Poverty by 2030 “. (2020). Ending poverty by 2030 Depends on the Social Development Commission’s Policy Guidance, Secretary-General Says as Body’s General Debate Continues | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases. Retrieved 7 July 2020, from https://www.un.org/press/en/2016/soc4835.doc.htm

McCarty, A. (2016). Child Poverty in the United States: A Tale of Devastation and the Promise of Hope. Sociology Compass, 10(7), 623-639. doi: 10.1111/soc4.12386

Milli, J., Huang, Y., Hartmann, H., & Hayes, J. (2017). The Impact of Equal Pay on Poverty and the Economy | Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Retrieved 7 July 2020, from https://iwpr.org/publications/impact-equal-pay-poverty-economy/s

Pinghui, Z. (2020). Singapore focuses on creating jobs, commits to globalisation. Retrieved 7 July 2020, from https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/3089019/singapore-focuses-creating-jobs-commits-globalisation

Sainato, M. (2020). The Americans dying because they can’t afford medical care. Retrieved 7 July 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/07/americans-healthcare-medical-costs