ï»¿POVERTY AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
Poverty may be defined as not having enough money to meet the most basic human requirements of food, clothing and shelter. However, in reality, poverty is much more than a simple lack of money. The World Bank Organization describes poverty as:
Poverty is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is a situation people want to escape. So poverty is a call to change the world so that many more may have enough to eat, adequate shelter, access to education and health, protection from violence, and a voice in what happens in their communities
(What is Poverty?, 2009). Research shows that 80% of the human population survives on less ...view middle of the document...
They are extremely fearful that their children may have to lead a life similar to their own because they do not have access to proper schooling and medical facilities.
Needless to add, the poor are marginalized from society and have little say in policy making and debates, making it further difficult for them to escape poverty. Thus, poverty affects not just the living standard of the poor, but also denies them access to their fundamental rights as human beings. Poverty, therefore, is undeniably a very complex issue affecting society as a whole and requires everyone's attention, regardless of how it is defined or analyzed.
Since the 1960s, poverty has been tracked to help distribute government resources and determine eligibility for programs like school lunches and food stamps. A lot of incorrect assumptions related to poverty and those affected by it existed in the past. It was believed that people living on government aid choose to do so instead of working because they are lazy and that such people are the sole responsibility of the government and once they stop being eligible for receiving aid, they should be on their own.
However, modern research shows that people want to work not only because it pays, but working in a team earns them respect and allows them to build relationships. Each person has some unique talent and ability to use it for productive purposes and should be given an opportunity to do so (2013 Highlights).
Poverty rate in California and CPM:
California, the state that boasts the most 'ultra-rich' people in the US, also has the dubious distinction of having the highest poverty rate in the country (Current Population Reports, 2013). In 2013, the state was home to 12,560 ultra-wealthy individuals, having a net worth of at least $30 million. At the same time, 24% of the total population of California lived in poverty, a grim scenario indeed. A new index termed the California Poverty Measure (CPM), has been jointly developed by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI) and the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) to improve upon conventional methods of measuring poverty. The CPM tracks the full range of necessary expenditures, adjusts for geographic differences in housing costs, and includes food stamps and other non-cash benefits as resources available to poor families. The CPM reveals which groups and counties have the highest poverty rates and whether California's safety net is successfully reducing poverty (California Poverty Measure, 2013).
A family is considered to be poor if its resources fall short of the poverty threshold. The CPM combines a familyâ€™s annual cash income (including earnings and government-provided cash benefits like CalWORKs), its tax obligationâ€”a net income boost to low-income families that qualify for tax creditsâ€”and in-kind benefits like CalFresh. According to the CPM, high living costs and housing costs take up most of the resources available to most...