The common issue concerning the annual Federal poverty levels that are universal for all the lower forth eight states are that the poverty level measures are limited. In other words, the poverty thresholds doesn’t represent a budget for basic necessities of life nor it addresses the supplementary amount to allow for other basic needs such as household supplies, person care, etc(Madden, 182). Also, the federal poverty lines by family size do not use consumer expenditure data and it is not updates. It is not adjusted by family types and geographical differences in housing concepts.
Problems with Absolute Federal Poverty Level
Absolute federal poverty level is enumerates the numeral value of people below poverty threshold which does not depend on time and place (Madden, 183). In other words, it is constant. It is incorrect to calculate absolute federal poverty level because it is only possible because the amount of wealth essential for survival is not constant for all places and time periods. For example, a person living Alaska requires more sources of heat because of its cold climate whereas a person living in Hawaii does not. As compared to absolute federal poverty level, relative poverty level is dependent on time and place (Madden, 183).
Poverty Levels, Family Size and Cost of Living
The federal government does not raise the poverty levels by family size to reflect the cost of living of a geographic area because the poverty threshold level varies from one place to another. The current poverty levels by family size are measured by comparing the individual’s family income to the essential amount necessary for standard of living (Rogers, 85). It has been used as the primary statistic by the U.S federal government to allocate mean-tested social welfare benefits.
Expenses in NYC versus Other States
New York City is considered to be the most expensive cities to live in. New York remains the most expensive city within United States. According to statistics, the median earnings of New York are more that sixty thousand dollars which is ten thousand dollars greater than the national median. The overall average living expenses in New York are more than one hundred and ninety dollars (Rogers, 185).
Housing expenses are more than three hundred thousand dollars and secondary education is more than two thousand dollars as compared to the nation average. Other facilities are also expensive as compared to other states. For example, a person living in Pittsburg who earns fifty thousand dollars will need one hundred thousands dollars to survive in New York. Over all, living expenses in New York is twice as much as compared to other states.
Juvenilization and Feminization of Poverty
Juvenilization of poverty is has been derived from the word juvenile and poverty. Poverty is defined as the scarcity and deficiency assets, income, capabilities or freedoms. Juvenilization is associated with children. Hence, juvenilization of poverty means that children are deprived of basic necessities of life. According to statistics, one out of six children in United States suffers from poverty. Studies also show that more than thirty percent of children are living below poverty line although they make up more than twenty eight percent of the population. The term feminization of poverty has been originated from the definition of two words which are poverty and feminization.
Feminization is the term which illustrates that gender partiality and bias in deprivation of resources, capabilities or freedoms. Hence, feminization of poverty is considered to be a concept which compares male and female and what are the differences or ratios between the two in terms of poverty levels. It represents the inability of women to meet the basic necessities of life.
Personal Costs of Poverty and Problems with Federal Approach towards Poverty
According to the data collected the U.S Census Bureau, the personal costs of poverty on family and children of four is $22,050 per year and for family of eight is $37010 per year and for every additional personal $ 3740 is added (Madden, 196). There are certain sets of specific policies and programs which are flawed because they cannot fight poverty. Aid to Families with Dependent Children has provided families with cash assistance but it comprises about one percent of the federal budget.
AFDC polices have serious weaknesses which makes the poverty rate higher as compared to other countries. The weaknesses in the current policies can be classified into two broad categories namely, inadequate livable wage jobs and inadequate social welfare policies. The AFDC policies do not have policies which guarantee childcare for families who are living below two hundred percent of poverty. It doesn’t have policies which assist child support and low incoming individuals. Other problems include lack of workforce education and training programs, benefits and inadequate job policies.
Social Work and Poverty and Modifications in Federal Policies
As a social worker, I will apply my social work training in system to understand the nature of poverty and its origin. As a social worker, poverty must be combated at macro level so that poor families can afford childcare, housing, mental health treatment and education and employment opportunities (Rogers, 221).
On broader scale, the first thing to help poor families would be through community organizing in poor neighborhoods. This can help in organizing the community’s asset and combine them with other resources to create and set up local structure which assist health, education and financial viability. This will empower the community residents to be active and support local initiatives.
In order to reduce poverty, the federal government should recognize and produce measures to tackle issues of well being beyond the income status. The federal government should introduce a guarantee for child care for families living at or below two hundred percent of poverty in order to improve the quality of child care.
It should also assist child support and fathers who have low incomes. In order to remove the future generation from poverty, the federal government should increase child support programs and adopt pragmatic policies for low income families. At the same time, workforce education and training programs should be introduced to assist low-income individuals to advance economically. The government should also improve job quality with the help of earnings, benefits and other predictable measures so that workers can meet both work and family responsibilities.
Madden, David. “RELATIVE OR ABSOLUTE POVERTY LINES: A NEW APPROACH.” Review of Income & Wealth 46 (June 2009): 181-199.
Rogers, Harrell, R.. American Poverty in a New Era of Reform. New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., (2006).