Poverty-Busters: Native American Success

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Christina Rose, reporting in Indian Country Today Media Network, says that, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, South Dakota is home to some of the harshest poverty-stricken areas in Indian country. While the sluggish economy throughout the United States has been part of the problem, Indian organizations and individuals are working to change the status quo.  To read more, click here.

New SRCD Report Examines Effect of Poverty On Children

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The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) reports that poverty is a major risk factor for children’s development and is linked to many problems that persist into adulthood.  Poverty also contributes to a growing health and academic achievement gap, declining college attendance and graduation rates, and an increasing workforce skills gap. To read more, click here.

Poverty hits America’s Suburbs: 64% Increase Between 2000 and 2011

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The number of suburban residents living in poverty rose by nearly 64 percent between 2000 and 2011, to about 16.4 million people, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of 95 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. That’s more than double the rate of growth for urban poverty in those areas. To read more, click here.

10 Things You Should Know About Slavery

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After the popular movie, ‘Django,’ Colorlines Magazine featured an article that recites ten things everyone should know about slavery (but aren’t mentioned in the popular film). Among the important facts are that the wealth gap between whites and blacks that resulted from slavery has yet to be closed.  In fact, today that wealth gap is the largest recorded since records began to be kept three decades ago. To read more, click here.


A Still from ‘Django’

The Concentration of Poverty Is a Growing Rural Problem

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When people think of poverty they often think of urban poverty. Yet a report from the USDA Economic Research Service show that poverty is increasingly a rural problem. To read the article in full, click here.

Report: Food Chain Workers Impoverished

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In the report, “The Hands That Feed Us: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain,”  the Food Chain Workers Alliance points to some alarming facts about the working conditions of food chain workers:

  1. 79% do not have a paid sick day or do not know that they have any paid sick days.
  2. 58% have no health coverage.
  3. 86% earn low, subminimum or poverty wages.
  4. 81% never receive a promotion.
  5. 51% receive no health or safety training from their employers.

To read the full report, click here.

How Economic Inequality Harms Societies


It isn’t just poverty that harms a society, it’s income inequality.  In this TED Talk, Richard Wilkinson charts data on economic inequality in several countries, and shows that in countries like the U.S. where income inequality is high, there are strong negative effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust. Indeed, as income inequality increases, so do the societal problems.  Let us know what you think of this TED Talk! Leave a comment!

Global Hunger Can be Solved

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A child suffering from severe malnutrition lies on a hospital bed in Diapaga, eastern Burkina Faso. More than 180 million preschool-age children do not get enough nutrients.

Researchers and Nobel laureates say that global hunger can be solved—and with a relatively small investment. In a research paper recently released, a group called the “Copenhagen Consensus” explains how small investments in micronutrients and and other cost effective solutions can end  hunger across the globe. To read an article about the the Copenhagen Consensus in Slate  and to download the research paper click here.

Intelligence, Poverty, Parasite, and Pathogens

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According to recent research by scientists from the University of New Mexico, children born in areas with high rates of infectious disease tend to have a lower average intellegence than those born in areas with a lower disease burden. The research suggests that the body’s metabolic energy needed for optimal brain development is depleted in the constant fight against pathogens. Conversely, as disease agents are conquered, average intelligence in children in previously-affected areas should rise.

To read the full article in the Economist, click here.

Concentrated Poverty

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According to the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution,

After substantial progress against concentrated poverty during the booming economy of the late 1990s, the economically turbulent 2000s saw much of those gains erased.

According to its report, “The Re-Emergence of Concentrated Poverty,”  concentrated poverty—being poor in a very poor neighborhood—limits educational opportunity, leads to increased crime rates and poor health outcomes, hinders wealth building, increases the prices for good and services, and raises the costs for local government. To read more, and download a full copy of the report click here.

“Where Children Sleep,” A New Book on Poverty and Class

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Dong, 9, shares a room with his sister and parents in Yunnan Provice, China.

James Mollison’s new book shows children’s bedrooms from across the globe and paints an intriguing mosaic of wealth, poverty, and class. Some of the photographs in the book can be seen at the The New York Times website. Click here for more.

More People in U.S. See Conflict Between the Rich and the Poor

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A Pew Research Center survey of 2,048 adults found that about two-thirds of the public (66%) believes there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor—an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009. In the past two years, the proportion of whites who say there are strong conflicts between the rich and the poor grew by 22 percentage points to 65%. That is more than triple the increase among blacks or Hispanics. The result is that the “perceptions gap” between blacks and whites on class conflict has been cut in half, while among Hispanics the difference has disappeared and may have reversed.

To read more, click here.

From the Fat Nutritionist Blog: If only poor people understood nutrition!

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Here’s an interesting insight from the Fat Nutritionist Blog:

The reality is that people who don’t have enough money (or the utilities and storage) to buy and prepare decent food in decent quantities, cannot (and should not) be arsed to worry about the finer nuances of nutrition.

If we understand the Hierarchy of Food Needs (above), this makes sense because getting enough food trumps getting nutritious (“instrumental”) food. To read more, click here


The Pruitt-Igoe Myth—A Documentary Film

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According to the Village Voice:

[The Pruitt-Igoe Myth] is the painstaking illustration of how racism, classism, and government serving the interests of big business all shaped the now-myth-like horrors of St. Louis’s notorious Pruitt-Igoe housing project.

To read more, click here.

The High Cost of Poverty: Why the Poor Pay More

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The poorer you are, the more things cost—more in money, time, hassle, and exhaustion. Read the article from the Washington Post to learn more.

In the Fight Against Poverty, It’s Time for a Revolution

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In David Bornstein’s New York Times article he suggests that the U.S. approach to addressing poverty need to change to be effective:

The system of social services that has been built up over past generations isn’t designed to increase poor people’s “capacity to aspire” and pursue their goals.…But that’s what’s required. Many Americans struggling in poverty today need more than financial assistance; they need help figuring out how to plug into a changing economy. They need help devising a plan forward.

To read the full article, click here.

Becky Blanton: The year I was homeless | Video on TED.com

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In a TED Talk, Becky Blanton discusses how she planned to live in her van for a year and see the country, but when depression set in and her freelance job ended, her camping trip turned into homelessness. In this intimate talk, she describes her experience of becoming one of America’s working homeless.

How Rich Are You?

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Feel poor lately. The Global Rich List site may let you see that you’re richer than you think, and also give you the opportunity to make a charitable donation. Check out the site by clicking here.

Study: Culture to Blame for Racism, Sexism, Homophobia

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A study led by Paul Verhaeghen, a professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Psychology, found that facets of U.S. culture, such as literature, movies, television, radio and the internet, may contribute to the problem of racism, sexism and other “isms” by exhibiting the same stereotypes that society tries to snuff out. To read the story in Science Daily, click here.

Gross Medical Ethics Violations in 1940’s Syphilis Testing

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According to a White House bioethics panel, the U.S. government and experts at Harvard and other top medical schools approved venereal disease experiments on people in the 1940s, which led to the deliberate infection of Guatemalan prisoners and mental patients with syphilis. What is especially startling is the high level of approval that the experiments received. The Attorney General, Army and Navy medical officials, the president of the American Medical Association, the president of the National Academy of Sciences and experts from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and the Universities of Pennsylvania and Rochester gave approval. The experiments were a violation of the medical standards of today and of the time the experiments were carried out.

To read the article from the New York Times, click here.

Why Income Disparities Persist: More Than Just Hard Work

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An article from NPR points out that racial and ethnic disparities in wealth cannot be explained only by who is willing to work harder. According to the article:

Study after study shows that white families are more likely than blacks and Hispanics to enjoy certain economic advantages — even when their incomes are similar. Often it’s the subtle things: help from Mom and Dad with a down payment on a home or college tuition, or a tax break on money passed from one generation to the next.

The greater wealth a family starts with, the more wealth it tends to accumulate. This leaves poorer families and a continuing disadvantage compared to their wealthier counterparts. To read more, including how some families are breaking the cycle of poverty, click here.


To Define Poverty, U.S. Has a New Formula

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For the past fifty years, the U.S. Census Bureau has determined the poverty line using one benchmark: food cost as a share of annual income. Now, however, the Bureau will count other factors that might drive people into poverty, including medical expenses and the higher rents in certain regions. It also will take into account what the government provides people to fight poverty, such as food stamps, public housing, and refundable tax credits. To read more, click here.

Invisible People Blog

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This and other videos from the Invisible People blog give insights on the lives on homeless people across the U.S. and Canada.

Buoyed by Wall St. Protests, Rallies Sweep the Globe

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Protesters at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange

Protests expressing economic discontent are rising across the globe according to the New York Times. Despite the difference in language, landscape and scale, demonstrations in Europe, Asia, and the Americas were united in frustration with the widening gap between the rich and the poor. To read more, click here.

Deep Poverty on the Rise

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The number of people in deep poverty rose to 20.4 million in 2010, up 4 million (25 percent) since 2007. Deep poverty — the share of the population with incomes below half the poverty line — rose by a statistically significant amount in 40 states. To read more click here.

Poverty-Stricken Muppet’s Debut Praised As Real, Honest

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Poverty activists have applauded Sesame Street’s decision to feature a poverty-stricken Muppet on the long-running children’s show. To read more click here.

Poverty and Willpower: The Heavy Burden of Resisting Temptation When You’re Poor

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From the Guardian:

Nobody except the most out-of-touch billionaire needs telling that having less money means making painful sacrifices. But …(research)…suggests a bitter twist: that making those sacrifices makes you less capable of doing the things – saving money, say, or giving up a pricey smoking habit – that could lay the foundations of a life with fewer sacrifices.

To read more click here.

Film: “The End of Poverty?”

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The End of Poverty? asks why today 20% of the planet’s population uses 80% of its resources and consumes 30% more than the planet can regenerate? To reach the official website, click here.   

Older Americans in Poverty

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A recent report from AARP (the American Association of Retired Persons) states as follows:

Poverty among the elderly remains a serious and persistent problem in the United States. Nearly one in ten adults age 65 and above live in a family with income below the official U .S . poverty line.…Poverty hits some groups of older adults more than others. Twenty percent of older adults who are black or Hispanic are poor, and poverty hits older people with limited education and those who are not married especially hard .

To read the full report, click here.

Map of Per Capita Income and Population Density

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National Geographic has an interactive map that shows the wide disparities in global per capita income levels, as well as population density. Different colors represent different income groups, while shades within each color represent population density. Click here to view the map.

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