Poverty

It is one of the stark facts of late industrialism that poverty rates remain high even in many rich countries (such as the United States). The scholars who study poverty examine how it is best measured, why some groups are especially prone to extreme poverty, whether poverty can be reduced through early intervention and other social policy, and how poverty is experienced on a day-to-day basis.

Measurement

How sensitive are poverty rates to different measurement decisions? Should measurement be oriented toward outcomes (e.g., income levels) or opportunities (e.g., access to education)?

Demography

Are poverty raises increasing? Are children born into poverty likely to remain in poverty throughout their childhood? Throughout their adult lives? Which racial and ethnic groups are especially likely to experience poverty? Are female-headed households especially prone to poverty?

Policy

Has welfare reform reduced poverty rates? How much poverty could be eliminated by raising the minimum wage? Would poverty decrease dramatically if Head Start programs were more widely offered?

Experiences

Are the everyday lives of those in poverty fundamentally different than the everyday lives of those in the middle class? Are the poverty-stricken especially likely to be socially isolated? Are they often hopeless and discouraged?

"When the rich wage war it is the poor who die." - Jean-Paul Sartre


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