It seems that a new infomercial comes out every day in regards to this issue. The number of poverty stricken Americans continues to grow at a rapid pace. Chances are you know someone, whether it be a friend or family member, that deals with this on an everyday basis. Are people really falling through the cracks and becoming the invisible poor? Some studies appear to show this as a possibility. In 2010, about 15.1 percent (approx 46.2 million) of Americans were reported living on or below the poverty line. Since 2007, the number of people on food stamps has increased by 74% – with one out of every six Americans being enrolled in at least one form of a government anti-poverty program. It is also estimated that up to half a million children may currently be homeless.
What seems to be the root cause of this travesty? Around 27% of Americans attribute it to nothing more than laziness. Nearly half the country believes that having a good work ethic is all one needs to avoid poverty, and approximately the same number of people stated that those living in poverty can always find a job if they really want to work. Is this really the truth? Not all Americans agree.
In a recent survey, it was found that 37% of people believe the impoverished are leading such hard lives because government benefits don’t go far enough to assist them. There are also a ton of contributing factors that seem to be linked to poverty stricken families. Lack of education, drug addiction, horrible money management, not working and being born into a poor family are just a few reasons correlated to poverty.
So, is there anything we can do as a people to help our fallen brothers and sisters? Instead of standing by and watching our neighbors slowly become statistics, it should be our civic duty to reach out and help them up. Try donating to a local charity or volunteering at a soup kitchen. Not only will you be helping someone in need, you’ll walk away knowing you made a difference in someone else’s life. That in itself is a reward well worth your time.