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Poverty in America: Socio-Economic Inequality

Although the United States belongs to the group of the most developed countries in the world, poverty is one of the main problems of the state. Forty million Americans live below the poverty line, struggle to pay the rent, or find affordable housing (DeParle, 2016). The primary cause of poverty in the United States is socio-economic inequality since such ethnic minorities as African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are among the poorest social groups in the United States.

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Education, healthcare, and housing are areas that need to be addressed first to help the poor. Education plays an important role in alleviating poverty, but its cost is a huge obstacle for poor families. A large proportion of young people cannot take advantage of the benefits of a higher education, which leads to the employment of the economically active population (Smelser & Reed, 2012). Since the United States has not deployed community-based policies such as universal preschool or free higher education to address huge social inequalities, the lack of investment in education is dangerous. University loans are offered to young people to pursue higher education, but student debt has been growing in recent years (Leonhardt, 2016). Therefore, the United States faces a double challenge: highly unequal access to higher education and a massive buildup of student debt.

Despite advanced medicine, the American health care system remains one of the main problems in the United States as well. The reason for this is the unaffordable prices that taxpayers and the state have to spend on medical services. Most of the medical facilities in the country are private, so healthcare is received by those who can pay for it (DeParle, 2016). An American must have a constant income to get insurance; however, not all employers are ready to offer their employees an insurance plan.

The government strategy expands the gap between rich and poor citizens. Rich Americans are becoming richer due to the worsening of working conditions for employees. Simultaneously with the curtailment of workers’ rights, the influence of big business on government decision-making is growing. The American dream is rapidly becoming the American illusion since people have the lowest opportunities to raise their social status in comparison with any other rich country. Neither the country’s wealth, nor its power, nor its technology is being used to help the forty million people living in poverty.


DeParle, J. (2016). Kicked out in America! The New York Review of Books. Web.

Leonhardt, D. (2016). Opinion | The American dream, quantified at last. The New York Times. Web.

Smelser, N. J., & Reed, J. S. (2012). Usable social science. Berkeley: University of California Press, 294-314.

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