6 Statements that Will Shock You about Poverty in America

Almost 15% of American Households had a hard time getting enough to eat at some point during 2012. (Playspent.org)
Due to multiple factors, getting enough to eat in America can be hard for people who are affected by poverty. The nutritional value of that food is very different too, as food with low nutritional value is cheaper and easier to access. This is why people living in poverty are seen by the general public as “fat with hunger.


An estimated 2.3 to 3.5 million American Experience homelessness each year. (Baggett, O’Connell, Singer & Rigotti, 2010)
Even though it is hard to define homelessness because it manifests in so many ways, this is a general estimate of how many people are homeless in our country. These are numbers that can’t be ignored.


Women have higher rates of health problems than do men and face a greater risk of sexual and physical assault. (Boes & van Wormer, 1997)
Women in poverty face a lot of extra hurdles, such as paying for feminine hygiene products and receiving prenatal care during pregnancy.


43% of the homeless are substance abusers, 26% are mentally ill, 23% are veterans, 19% are employed full-or part-time, and 8% have AIDS or related illnesses (Boes & van Wormer, 1997)
A lot of the co-morbid issues that people in poverty face are continually perpetuated by the vicious cycle of poverty. People in poverty can barely afford to live and are spending a lot of time trying to get benefits, so any kind of mental or physical health care is going to be pushed aside


“That’s how I ended up on the streets, alone and uneducated. I couldn’t read or write.” (Youme. & Horton, 2008)
Access to education is a huge problem for those who live in poverty. As addressed in the Play Spent Poverty Simulator, affording a tutor for children in poverty is not a high priority and often, the parents don’t have the education level to help students. This puts people in poverty at a huge disadvantage.


In the State of NY, according to Gov. Cuomo, if it’s under 32 degrees, DDS must pay for homeless to be housed, regardless of any situation.. (Kelly, Guest Speaker)
While this movement is done with good intentions, our guest speaker Kelly informed us that the NY state government didn’t supply extra funding for this notion, so this can be difficult for shelters in the state to execute. Policy is a huge factor that plays into helping people in poverty, and this is an example of moving one step forward and one step back.



Baggett, T., O’Connell, J., Singer, D., & Rigotti, N. (2010). The Unmet Health Care Needs of Homeless Adults: A National Study. Am J Public Health, 100(7), 1326-1333. http://dx.doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2009.180109

Boes, M., & van Wormer, K. (1997). Social Work With Homeless Women in Emergency Rooms: A Strengths-Feminist Perspective. Affilia, 12(4), 408-426. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/088610999701200404

Playspent.org,. (2016). SPENT. Retrieved 28 February 2016, from http://playspent.org

Youme., & Horton, A. (2008). Pitch black. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press.

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