Poverty and Homelessness in the United States

2442 words 10 pages
Poverty and Homelessness in the United States Poverty in America is a subject that though everybody recognizes is existent, most do not pay attention to very often. In 2010 the poverty line for a family of four was $22,314.00 and 15.1% of Americans were living off of less than that (Tavernise, 2011). While 15.1% is a high number to begin with, the truth is that many more people are living on the verge of homelessness. Countless families are split up every night with children going to a friend’s house or an extended family member’s house to ensure that everyone has somewhere to sleep. These people are called the “hidden homeless” by the Charlotte Observer (Whitesides, 2011). Even more people are either living in tent cities or in their …show more content…

Prior to World War II, the United States was going through the Great Depression in which the economy crashed leaving millions without jobs. The start of World War II created many jobs and brought the country out of the depression. Later, the Vietnam War and the Cold War took a toll on the United States economy. Because the United States had to spend so much money on these wars, the country printed more money than they had gold to back it up. To solve the issue, President Richard Nixon removed the United States off of the gold standard, dropping the value of the US dollar. The effects of Nixon’s decision were increases of oil prices by 400% by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and stagflation. During IDL 3, the United States increased interest rates to counter inflation which caused extreme debt in developing nations. While taking the United States economy was improving from the removal of the gold standard, there was still a problem of distribution of wealth within the country. Since the 1920s the top 1% of wealth holders in the United States held 30% of the total household sector wealth, leaving the bottom 99% with only 70% (Keister & Moller, 2000). Through the years the division of wealth distribution only grew wider. In 1989 the top 1% held 38.9% of the total household wealth. The division between the top 1% of wealth holders in the United States and everyone else is so drastic that


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