Poverty in the UK

A third of people in the UK have experienced poverty in recent years, By Katie Allen, May 16, 2016, The Guardian: “One in three people have experienced poverty in recent years, according to figures that underline the precarious nature of work in Britain. Anti-poverty campaigners welcomed news that the proportion of people experiencing long-term, or persistent, poverty had declined to one of the lowest rates in the EU. But they highlighted Britons’ relatively high chances of falling into poverty as the latest evidence that a preponderance of low-paying and low-skilled jobs left many families at risk of hardship…”

2010 U.S. Census Data

Census: U.S. on verge of minority majority, By Maya Rhodan, January 3, 2013, The Charlotte Post: “In 2060 America will become a true melting pot of ethnicities and races, the U.S. Census Bureau projects. According to the first set of projections released based on the 2010 Census, minorities – including Asians, African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans – are expected to comprise 57 percent of the population, 20 points higher than their current population. The projections show that the Hispanic population will more than double and represent a third of the 2060 U.S. population. Today, Hispanics represent about one in six Americans…”


Household Development Agents – Haiti

Personal coaches help Haitian families try to get out of poverty, By David Brown, August 29, 2012, Washington Post: “The people who live in this part of Haiti’s Central Plateau need more of pretty much everything that makes life safe, comfortable and predictable. Three-quarters of families do not have enough food and two-thirds do not have access to clean water. Thirty percent of households are headed by women, and 40 percent of children are not in school. One in four children is unvaccinated, and half are underweight. About 80 percent of houses do not have latrines, and 60 percent of farmers do not own the land they cultivate, according to a survey of 5,200 families in the commune, or county, of Boucan Carre…”

A Plan for Urban Poverty?

What Does Obama Really Believe In?, By Paul Tough, August 15, 2012, New York Times Magazine: “From the back seat of Steve Gates’s white Pontiac, Monique Robbins spotted Jasmine Coleman walking home from school alone. It was an icy December afternoon on Chicago’s South Side, and Jasmine’s only protection against the wind was a thin purple jacket. She looked cold. Gates pulled the car over to the curb, and Robbins hollered at Jasmine to get in. Jasmine was 16, and Robbins and Gates, who were both in their 30s, were her neighbors. All three of them lived in or around Roseland, a patch of distinctly subprime Chicago real estate that stretches from 89th Street to 115th Street, way down past the last stop on the El. Fifty years ago, Roseland was a prosperous part of Chicago, home to thousands of blue-collar workers, most of them white, employed by the South Side’s many steel and manufacturing plants. But the plants closed long ago. . .”

Urban Poverty – Canada

Big cities attracting poverty, Statscan data show, By Heather Scoffield, June 21, 2011, Globe and Mail: “Canada’s biggest urban areas are stuck in a rut of persistent poverty, while mid-sized cities are gaining ground despite the recent recession, new data from Statistics Canada show. The metropolitan areas of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal have poverty rates far above the national average, details of a report on income in Canada in 2009 show. But Quebec City and Victoria, on the other hand, have seen steady and significant declines in the number of people living with low incomes over the last decade, despite the recent recession.  The trends are no surprise to Mike Creek, who works with homeless and impoverished people in Toronto, after spending years in poverty himself.  ‘If you stick around in a smaller community and you have that shame (of living in poverty), you become stigmatized. So I think it’s easier for someone to pack up their bags and try some place else,’ Mr. Creek says.  Urban centres, he says, ‘provide more opportunities around housing, and job opportunities and services that they may not find in smaller communities.’  Released last week, the Statistics Canada report is the first detailed, national look at what happened to income during the recession…”

Poverty and Culture

‘Culture of poverty’ makes a comeback, By Patricia Cohen, October 17, 2010, New York Times: “For more than 40 years, social scientists investigating the causes of poverty have tended to treat cultural explanations like Lord Voldemort: That Which Must Not Be Named. The reticence was a legacy of the ugly battles that erupted after Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then an assistant labor secretary in the Johnson administration, introduced the idea of a ‘culture of poverty’ to the public in a startling 1965 report. Although Moynihan didn’t coin the phrase (that distinction belongs to the anthropologist Oscar Lewis), his description of the urban black family as caught in an inescapable ‘tangle of pathology’ of unmarried mothers and welfare dependency was seen as attributing self-perpetuating moral deficiencies to black people, as if blaming them for their own misfortune. Moynihan’s analysis never lost its appeal to conservative thinkers, whose arguments ultimately succeeded when President Bill Clinton signed a bill in 1996 ‘ending welfare as we know it.’ But in the overwhelmingly liberal ranks of academic sociology and anthropology the word ‘culture’ became a live grenade, and the idea that attitudes and behavior patterns kept people poor was shunned. Now, after decades of silence, these scholars are speaking openly about you-know-what, conceding that culture and persistent poverty are enmeshed…”

Child Poverty – Scotland

Quarter of children in Scotland in ‘persistent’ poverty, By Reevel Alderson, April 29, 2010, BBC News: “The Scottish government has been urged to change the way it tackles the problem of child poverty. A series of studies it has published reveals poverty may be more serious for many families than had been previously believed. Researchers with Growing Up in Scotland, who tracked the experiences of 8,000 families, said a quarter of children were ‘persistently poor’. They said government measures to deal with the problem needed to be targeted. Eradicating child poverty is a commitment of both the Westminster and Holyrood governments…”

Report: Child Poverty – Northern Ireland

  • Persistent poverty in Northern Ireland ‘twice that of Great Britain’, November 12, 2009, Belfast Telegraph: “The level of persistent poverty in Northern Ireland children is more than double that of those in Great Britain, it was revealed today. High levels of unemployment, disability, lower wages and poor quality part-time jobs were to blame, a study for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) discovered. A fifth of families in Northern Ireland experienced persistent poverty compared to a tenth in Great Britain in recent years. Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, called for action by the Assembly…”
  • NI has worst child poverty in UK, November 12, 2009, BBC News: “The level of persistent child poverty in Northern Ireland is more than double that of the rest of the United Kingdom, new research has found. The study, by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, found that high levels of unemployment, disability and poor quality part-time jobs were to blame. The charity defines poverty as the experience of a family with an income which is 60% below the UK average…”

Safety Net Programs and Poverty Alleviation

Safety net is fraying for the very poor, By Erik Eckholm, July 4, 2009, New York Times: “Government ‘safety net’ programs like Social Security and food stamps have pulled growing numbers of Americans out of poverty since the mid-1990s. But even before the current recession, these programs were providing less help to the most desperately poor, mainly nonworking families with children, according to a new study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a private group in Washington…”