Poverty as a Critical Social Problem


Despite the intention to create a perfect society and improve life quality for all American citizens, the problem of poverty cannot be ignored. Poverty means different things for different people, but the main idea is the inability to afford minimal living standards (Frohlich et al., 2018). At the same time, the concept of poverty varies from the lack of resources or poor social support to hunger and discrimination. Millions of people around the globe continue taking steps to change the situation and eradicate poverty and its damaging consequences. However, instead of solving poverty as a specific challenge, it is better to consider the reasons for this condition. The relationship between poor education, low-paid jobs, and substance abuse explains why poverty might be a serious social problem.

Importance and Facts about Poverty

Even if some people do not see or experience poverty, it is wrong to believe that it does not exist. Today, more than 85% of families are below 200% of the poverty line (as cited in Font & Maguire-Jack, 2020). Besides, there are several groups of Americans who are at higher risk of poverty. For example, working-age and single women report more poverty-related problems than men (Frohlich et al., 2018). However, poor living is not only gender-based, and many other factors contribute to similar conditions. Veterans, disabled individuals, children, and Black Americans are more likely to live in poverty (Font & Maguire-Jack, 2020; Frohlich et al., 2018). In the United States, many organizations address this problem and use the reports by the U.S. Child Protective Services or some charitable organizations (Font & Maguire-Jack, 2020; Frohlich et al., 2018). Sometimes, it is possible to find a solution and help individuals improve their current conditions. However, most Americans admit that it is hard for them to deal with negative experiences and memories, defining poverty as a problem for American society.

B1: Poor Education

Poor education is a factor that increases poverty as a serious social problem. Today, the United States is experiencing an impressive economic recovery due to improved productivity. Unfortunately, employees who do not have a college education are not able to have high wages and meet their basic needs with dignity (Desmond, 2018). Low college enrollment rates mean few professionals in different spheres (Font & Maguire-Jack, 2020). As a result, low-income families remain poor because they cannot afford high-quality schools, home support, and academic success.

B2: Low Paying Jobs

Together with poor education, low salaries emerge and affect people. Compared to improved productivity by 77%, hourly payment has grown by 12% only (Desmond, 2018). Instead of having about $20 per hour, most people accept $7.25 as their appropriate hour salary (Desmond, 2018). Today’s low-waged society cannot get a chance to change something. Common efforts are not enough without governmental support, and leaders do not want to enhance improvements.

B3: Substance Abuse

Finally, substance abuse may be another critical reason for poverty. Parents should take responsibility for their children and their well-being. Still, the number of adverse effects, like domestic violence, neglect, and poverty, grows because of substance abuse (Font & Maguire-Jack, 2020). It is difficult to say, but people are eager to spend money on drugs or other entertainment instead of solving their problems and preventing poverty in their families.


People do not like to live in poverty, but it is hard to escape this social challenge today. Poor education, low-paid salaries, and substance abuse are a few reasons for the current problem. Some efforts are made to improve the situation, but deep roots and irreversible consequences are evident.


Desmond, M. (2018). Americans want to believe jobs are the solution to poverty. They’re not. The New York Times Magazine. Web.

Font, S. A., & Maguire-Jack, K. (2020). It’s not “just poverty”: Educational, social, and economic functioning among young adults exposed to childhood neglect, abuse, and poverty. Child Abuse & Neglect, 101. Web.

Frohlich, T. C., Sauter, M., & Kent, A. (2018). Progress in fighting poverty in America has slowed despite recent economic recovery. USA Today. Web.

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