Essay by mrsaulongCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2002

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There is no single description of American poverty. But for many, perhaps most, it means homes with inadequate heating, unstable plumbing, and uncertain electricity. It often means a home where some go to bed hungry and malnutrition is very frequent. For almost all the poverty stricken families it means that life is a constant struggle to obtain the merest necessities of existence, the things that most of us take for granted. We can do better than this. The brightest parts of the new census report are the strong gains registered by African Americans and Hispanics. Poverty dropped for both groups in 1997, with the black poverty rate falling from 28.8 percent in 1996 to 26.5 percent in 1997, which was an all time low. The Hispanic poverty rate also dropped substantially, declining from 29.4 percent in 1996 to 27.1 percent in 1997. Similar developments marked the food stamp program. Between 1995 and 1996, the number of people receiving food stamps in an average month fell 1.2

million, or nearly five percent. This trend increased in 1997. From 1996 to 1997, the number of poor people fell 955,000 or 2.6 percent, while the number of people receiving food stamps fell and additional 3.1 million or more than 12 percent. The number of African Americans in poverty has dropped dramatically since 1959. Yet the number of Caucasians families in poverty has only dropped slightly. Since 1959 the number of African Americans in poverty has dropped by 31.4 percent. The number of Caucasians in poverty has only dropped by 9.4 percent.

Poverty is an issue which society faces each day. It is a constant struggle that cannot be ignored. Defeating poverty would take great efforts and contributions from all. Canada and the third world are examples of countries which are experiencing poverty, yet...