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When one thinks of poverty, they probably think about countries in the Middle East, Africa or Asia. They picture the commercials of starving children and how $3 can feed them for an entire week. When one thinks of poverty, they do not think of the United States. When people think of the United States, they think of the hustle and bustle of cities like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. They think of the suburban lifestyle. They think of the “American Dream.” Even people who live in the United States don’t think of the poverty that surrounds us. But the harsh reality is that there are more than 43 million Americans living in poverty.
That’s a lot of people in poverty. If you added the populations of California and Oklahoma, you would get around 43 million. It is unacceptable for a country that is as highly developed as America to have a poverty rate that is at nearly 13 percent.
According to the CIA, the United States is ranked number 20 for highest gross domestic profit per capita. There are many countries in the world that ranked lower on the list in terms of GDP, yet they have a lower poverty rate. For instance, according to The World Factbook, countries such as Canada, Austria and Serbia have poverty rates that are all under 10 percent.
If the United States ranks so high on lists when it comes to statistics regarding economy, why is it that the United States still has such a high poverty rate? According to a 2012 article in the New York Times, one of the greatest causes is because many Americans are working minimum wage jobs. These jobs don’t allow for a livable income for a single person, much less a single person with children. According to that same article, this has been a problem in the United States since the 1970s.
America is one of the most developed countries in the world. Yet 13 percent of the population live under the poverty line. Many people are focused on giving charity to other countries. This can be helpful. However, those people focused on charity tend to forget that there are people in their own country that are suffering as well.
For the U.S. to help other impoverished countries most effectively, they first need to help their home front. When the poverty rate in America is lowered, it will allow America to be an even more successful country.