StudyCorgi Sociology

Poverty and Welfare Policies in the United States

The poverty is the United States is one of the primary problems. If the economic growth of the 1970s continues, until 1980s the number of poor families would be significantly lower. However, until 2012 the rate of poverty has decreased to 15 percent (Desilver, 2014).

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An unequal distribution of income among South and the North States is the primary reason for the increased poverty. South states remain to be the poorest with 37 percent of poor people living there. The suburbs of the largest metro areas are also among the poorest regions, as the financial capital is shifted to the metropolises (Garr & Kneebone, 2010). Another factor that contributes to the poverty is the women headed housings. More than a half of poor families are headed by women (50.3 percent), and almost 40 percent of poor households are managed by married couples. Remarkable, that in 2012 the poorest were Americans in their working years from 18 to 64. They constituted 57 percent of poor citizens (Desilver, 2014). Various public welfare policies can also influence on the level of poverty.

Are Existing Welfare Policies Effective in Combating Poverty? Why or Why Not?

Since welfare policies implementation, the poverty reduced to 9 percent. It makes social reforms effective methods in combating the poverty. However, the cost of social programs remains high and “account[s] for approximately one-third of all federal spending and approximately 40 percent of total public spending” (Peters, 2007, p. 311). Nevertheless, welfare policies benefit the most vulnerable population. While Western countries keep on reducing the expenditures on social programs, the cost of American programs continues to increase. For example, George W. Bush’s Social Security reform provided workers with unemployment or disability compensation. Another Bush’s reform available to those, whose income is below the subsistence level, required significant expenditure from the budget, as people who were below the poverty line should have been provided with “food stamps, and Supplemental Security Income” (Peters, 2007, p. 335). These reforms were beneficial, although requiring significant budget spending.

Health care policies implemented under the administration of three American Presidents, Bush, Clinton, and Obama, were contrasting. Thus, Bush administration reduced the federal health funding and deprived poor of the qualified and accessible medical assistance. Clinton, from the other hand, put the health care reform at the forefront. The health care policy was inefficient due to the cost prevailing over the benefit. Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), introduced in 2012 became the golden mean, although the cost of the reform was essential (Peters, 2007, p. 290). ACA gives the poorest population necessary medical care though others are encouraged to obtain the insurance coverage.

In terms of education, the Clinton’s and Bush’s approaches were similar. Both presidents had an effort to improve the education system even at the cost of the budget spending. Thus, 18 percent of public expenditure was sent to education needs (Peters, 2007, p. 347). Significant cost, considering the effectiveness of the present school system.

What policy reforms would you recommend?

Mentioned-above welfare systems are effective in combating the poverty, although not sufficient. They do not consider the increased number of women headed housings as the significant constituent of the poor population. I would recommend restricting the baby birth in incomplete families. The poverty among full families is mainly lower. Another reform that I would recommend, concerns to the immigrants. The immigration procedures toward legal and illegal immigrants should be grounded but strict. The gross national product calculated per capita takes into account immigrants, though, reducing the individual income. Finally, immigrants should not be able to benefit from welfare policies developed for citizens and provided by their tax payments.


Garr, E., & Kneebone, E. (2010). The suburbanization of poverty: Trends in metropolitan America, 2000 to 2008. Web.

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Desilver, D. (2014). Who’s poor in America? 50 years into the ‘War on Poverty,’ a data portrait. Web.

Peters, G. (2007). American public policy: Promise and performance. Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press.

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"Poverty and Welfare Policies in the United States." StudyCorgi, 6 Dec. 2020,

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StudyCorgi. "Poverty and Welfare Policies in the United States." December 6, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "Poverty and Welfare Policies in the United States." December 6, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Poverty and Welfare Policies in the United States'. 6 December.

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