Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

The truth about poverty: Bad choices, not a bad economy, are to blame

Posted by on Oct. 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM
  • 244 Replies
2 moms liked this

*This article is not saying it is talking about every single poor person in existence.  Also, since this was written before the economic meltdown that isn't taken into consideration either.  However the fact remains that there are still many people today who are poor because of bad choices.*  If we cannot talk honestly about these bad choices, how can we expect future generations to avoid making them?

The truth about poverty: Bad choices, not a bad economy, are to blame

Ferbruary 4, 2007

By Steven Malanga

The release of the U.S. Census Bureau's mid-decade look at the population late last year sparked the usual outpouring of misinformed reporting on poverty. The familiar story line charged that our economic system isn't working well. The evidence? The poor are getting poorer, as one headline had it, and poverty rates remained unchanged, as another declared. In an editorial headlined "Downward Mobility," the New York Times explained that the Bush agenda, emphasizing tax cuts and economic growth, wasn't adequate for helping the poor, who need a wide range of government interventions, from a higher minimum wage and a more progressive income tax to undefined "labor protections." But the very same census study that provoked these headlines—the "American Community Survey"—also reveals the true nature of much poverty in America, telling a story that the press either ignores or can't bring itself to write. Poverty in America results increasingly from the choices that people make, not our economic system's supposed shortcomings.

'TWO AMERICAS'

The census's profile of poverty is especially revealing in big American cities like New York and Chicago. With their wealthy families living side by side with a larger than average number of the poor, New York and Chicago often appear in press accounts as damning examples of our society's inequities. Places like Manhattan, above all, seem the embodiment of former vice presidential candidate John Edwards' "Two Americas," with both a poverty rate and an average household income higher than the national average.

Yet behind the differences in economic performance lie startling disparities in social behavior, usually unacknowledged by critics of our economic system. For instance, the latest community survey tells us that single parents head more than two-thirds of all of New York's and 72 percent of all Chicago's poor families. The vast majority of these are female-headed households. In New York, the median family income of female-headed households with children is just $21,233 annually, a stark contrast with the nearly $65,000 brought home by married couples with kids in New York.

No wonder that economists from the University of California at Davis found in a recent study on poverty in America that "changes in family structure—notably a doubling of the percent of families headed by a single woman—can account for a 3.7 percentage point increase in poverty rates, more than the entire rise in the poverty rate from 10.7 percent to 12.8 percent since 1980."

FAILURE TO WORK

It's not that the adults who head families in poverty don't earn enough; they don't work enough. Left-wing critics often charge that nowadays "work doesn't work" in our "broken" economic system, by which they mean that wages are so wretched that the poor can't lift themselves up, even when employed. But the community survey informs us that an adult working full-time heads up fewer than 16 percent of all impoverished New York households, and only 18 percent in Chicago. Among single-woman-headed households, just 14 percent work full-time in New York and 11 percent in Chicago.

True, it may be hard to work full-time as a single mother unless you can afford child care. Yet in both New York and Chicago, ever more women—especially poor women—are choosing to have kids without a husband. The census shows that about 33 percent of all births annually in New York and 43 percent in Chicago are out of wedlock, though the data vary widely by race. In Chicago, for instance, Asian Americans have the lowest out-of-wedlock rate (6 percent) and blacks the highest (71 percent). Most shocking, perhaps, is that more than half of women having children out of wedlock in New York, and 60 percent in Chicago, are already in poverty or wind up there within a year of giving birth. Those births to poor, unmarried women partly explain why both cities have a higher than average overall poverty rate; since their illegitimacy rate is above the nation's, a greater percentage of children are born directly into poverty in both New York and Chicago than nationwide.

POVERTY OF EDUCATION

The second great demographic characteristic of poverty today is education, or the lack of it. The ranks of the impoverished overflow with high school dropouts, who are at a great disadvantage in today's increasingly knowledge-based economy, which demands a sheepskin. In New York, where manufacturing jobs have given way to a white-collar economy, the lack of a high school education is the felt most acutely: almost seven in 10 high school dropouts live in poverty, the community survey reports. In Chicago, 40 percent of dropouts live in poverty, a rate that is similar to the nation's. In both cities, many of those dropouts are also single parents, a double whammy that practically ensures poverty for themselves and their children.

Sociologists will point out (at least in their candid moments) that most people can stay out of poverty in America by doing just a few simple things—most important, graduating from high school and not having kids without a spouse on hand. The latest census survey reinforces this basic wisdom. Sooner or later, the press will get it.

Adapted from an essay in the winter edition of City Journal.

©2007 Chicago Sun-Times

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/_chicsuntimes-the_truth_about_poverty.htm

by on Oct. 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
futureshock
by Ruby Member on Oct. 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM
4 moms liked this

In summary poor/bad choices include but are not limited to:

Out of wedlock births

[E]ver more women—especially poor women—are choosing to have kids without a husband.

Lack of full time employment

It's not that the adults who head families in poverty don't earn enough; they don't work enough.

Being uneducated

The ranks of the impoverished overflow with high school dropouts, who are at a great disadvantage in today's increasingly knowledge-based economy, which demands a sheepskin.

*Again, no one is saying this describes every single poor person.*

LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Oct. 6, 2013 at 1:11 PM
10 moms liked this
I knew single mothers would be at the crux of your post. Call me psychic.
survivorinohio
by René on Oct. 6, 2013 at 1:13 PM
4 moms liked this

Why is it so important to some to drag others through the mud?



futureshock
by Ruby Member on Oct. 6, 2013 at 1:14 PM
3 moms liked this


Quoting LauraKW:

I knew single mothers would be at the crux of your post. Call me psychic.

I did not invent the fact that in general out of wedlock births contribute to poverty.

momwith2monkeys
by on Oct. 6, 2013 at 1:15 PM
Bump
futureshock
by Ruby Member on Oct. 6, 2013 at 1:15 PM
3 moms liked this


Quoting survivorinohio:

Why is it so important to some to drag others through the mud?



I am not dragging anyone through anything.  Did you read this part?

If we cannot talk honestly about these bad choices, how can we expect future generations to avoid making them?

SRUsarahSC
by Bronze Member on Oct. 6, 2013 at 1:15 PM
14 moms liked this

The article is dead on but you will be told over and over again how "what happened to me was completely outside of my control" etc.  There are very few who will actually take responsibility for their role in why their life situation is not ideal.

LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Oct. 6, 2013 at 1:18 PM
3 moms liked this
Not my point. I don't usually come into this type of post, but the one other time I did I remember a posting saying that you make posts about single mothers in the same manner as she-who-must-not-be-named makes posts about black people. Lo and behold, that is exactly what I found here. Interesting.

Quoting futureshock:


Quoting LauraKW:

I knew single mothers would be at the crux of your post. Call me psychic.

I did not invent the fact that in general out of wedlock births contribute to poverty.

romalove
by Roma on Oct. 6, 2013 at 1:19 PM
28 moms liked this

Children don't get to choose.

They don't choose unmarried parents.

They don't choose uneducated parents.

They don't choose to live in economically depressed areas.

They don't choose anything.

As long as children are suffering, I'm not going to be against PA.

You're never going to get your ideal world.  Sometimes people get married and the marriage falls apart, or you think someone is fabulous and they turn out to suck, or someone gets sick or disabled....lots of things can intervene to make your life different than you envisioned.

EireLass
by Ruby Member on Oct. 6, 2013 at 1:19 PM

BUMP!

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN