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Analyze specified social problems facing the contemporary United States. Please see attached: “guidelines for writing” for paper requirements


Poverty in the United States

Like other nations, the United States faces numerous social problems that impact negatively on the country’s population. It may seem ironic for a superpower like America to face numerous problems ranging from poverty and racial discrimination to lack of universal access to education and rising crime rates. Despite the country’s massive economic might, a section of America’s population is poor, and this problem stems from variables that can be explained using sociological theory. Meanwhile, it is unfortunate that the problem of poverty continues to impose serious effects on many American citizens.

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Today, poverty is one of the key challenges that confront the United States. It is a sensitive topic that has become the basis of debate in international forums such as the United Nations. Over the years, governments have strived to overlook the issue, but aggressive awareness programs championed by non-governmental organizations have continued to keep debate on the issue alive.

To begin with, poverty can be viewed from many perspectives depending on the country in question. Nevertheless, it has been simplified and narrowed down to conditions such as inadequate housing, lack of access to proper health care, food insecurity, poor nutrition, lack of proper education, and homelessness. Some of the main causes of poverty include lack of access to education, economic instability, expensive medical care, and social ills such as substance abuse and crime. In the United States, these variables have been cited as the leading causes of poverty alongside failing social and economic structures.

Furthermore, poverty has impacted negatively on the country. Firstly, it has contributed to the current prevalent situation of unsafe neighborhoods. Additionally, urban sprawl is a major poverty-related phenomenon. Subsequently, many citizens continue to appeal to local, federal, and state governments for financial assistance. Alongside this, the issues of unequal distribution of resources and regional disparities further increase the chances of high poverty levels. This phenomenon has resulted in reduced economic opportunities and poor prospects of gaining access to diverse opportunities.

Additionally, citizens are being affected both physically and emotionally by conditions of poverty. For instance, children from poor backgrounds are highly likely to exhibit conditions such as social disorder, impulsiveness, aggression, and social maladjustment. These challenges hamper academic achievement in school, resulting in a high drop-out rate that only contributes to the perpetuation of a vicious cycle of poverty. Thus, education has been significantly affected by poverty in the United States. Families living in poor conditions are unable to provide the necessary education to their children. For this reason, the children miss out on many opportunities in life. Consequently, crime rates increase due to subsequent efforts by a large uneducated population that is trying to create livelihoods through unorthodox means such as burglary, drug peddling, and prostitution. This trend has become common in the United States, leading to the conclusion that there is a correlation between lack of education and poverty.

Similarly, the economy has also been affected adversely by poverty. Lack of education deprives people of the necessary skills required to get a job. There is a decline in the labor force required in most careers and professions leading to increased. High unemployment levels cripple the economy because many companies do not operate effectively due to lack of skilled labor. In turn, a poor economy results in companies relocating their businesses to other nations with better economies. In the United States, some companies have relocated to other countries, and this has impacted negatively on the economy since potential investors are skeptical about investing in a poorly performing economy. With the high number of unemployed citizens, there is an anticipated problem of rising crime rates.

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Various sociological theories have been advanced to create an understanding of the causes of poverty. One of these theories is structural-functionalism, and it explains how poverty is caused by the functional attributes of society. It places emphasis on how social structures such as law and education contribute to poverty. Based on this theory, poverty in the United States can be looked at as a result of the failing of both the social and economic structures (Herschl, 2003). The current job market in play in the country has failed to provide adequate jobs that offer sufficient incomes to the labor force to enable them keep their families from falling into poverty. Significantly low wages and salaries, combined with part-time jobs that offer no prospects at all have been considered as a massive cause of economic failure. Moreover, both part-time and full-time earners barely earn enough to keep them well above the poverty line. In addition to this economic failure, the US government has failed to adopt an effective social structure in terms of poverty eradication. This has been deemed as the grand contributing factor for the current poverty status in the country. America has failed to employ safety programs and measures to counteract poverty. This is in contrast to other developed nations that have well laid-out strategies that have led to a progressive reduction in poverty levels. According to Rank, Roon and Herschl (2003), other developed nations are better at direct more resources to alleviating poverty than America.

In conclusion, it is evident that the prevalence of poverty is a major threat to America. It is a key emerging issue, and necessary measures should be deployed to stamp it out. Promoting education can play a primary role in poverty alleviation. The government needs to put aside resources that will oversee the prompt reduction in poverty levels in its efforts to root out this menace. At the same time, citizens are called upon to join in this fight by playing their roles effectively in society, as this will go a long way in ensuring that poverty is eradicated.


Rank, M., Yoon, H. & Hirschl, T. (2003). American poverty as a structural failing: Evidence and arguments. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare 30(4), 3-29.

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