Nearly 46 million individuals in America live in poverty. Roughly 3% of Americans have a net worth of $1 million dollars. How does the quality of life of these two groups differ? How are they possibly similar? The United States is one of the richest countries. Yet, the amount of poverty found is astonishing.
What classifies someone to be under the poverty line? When a person lacks basic human necessities to survive. This is when they are officially considered to be in poverty. Their income is so low they cannot afford enough food or shelter. Poverty affects people of all ages and backgrounds. They suffer through unhealthy living and eating conditions. Also, they experience extreme lack of medical care. Homelessness in cities is also at an all time worse. Veterans return from their deployment usually suffering from mental illnesses. They find it difficult, falling into the pits of poverty. Law prohibits the homeless from sleeping in certain areas. They are even restricted from entering businesses. Their struggle is often unrecognized and invisible to the public.
The areas that are most affected are surprisingly not big inner cities. You wouldn’t expect this because of the lack of funds neighborhoods experience. Additionally, there is an over-population and lack of resources in many. The areas of America struggling the most are the South and SouthWest.
The long term effect living in poverty has on children is shocking and worrisome. This is due to the overwhelming amount. They are more likely to be born with physical problems and diseases. This is all because of the lack of nutrition and medical care. As they grow, this can become worse and lead to mental illness. Their ill state of health causes a significant amount of lost school. Most times, they are forced to turn to any means necessary to survive. Whether this means prostitution, selling drugs, or any other activity. Unfortunately, those turning to the easier but illegal options suffer the consequences. They must deal with a justice system that doesn’t pity the poor. The poor die 10 years younger than the rich. The life expectancy gap increases between social classes. This grows even more with gender.
The vicious cycle of poverty tends to continue through generations, leading to many negative consequences in the lives of those affected by it. They are more likely exposed to the possibility of alcohol and substance abuse, less access to education, unhealthy living conditions, and disease. All of these things lead to more violence and higher crime rates in the neighborhood, as it is already an unstable living space.
Rich individuals of this country enjoy a glamorous and comfortable life. 1% of the richest in the world hold half of global wealth. They get to experience the best of the best. The highest quality food and living conditions. They receive great education, brand new clothes, and the list continues. How the rich stay rich is very important. They wisely invest their wealth, planting seeds for the future. They are familiar with how the economy works. Also, they integrate themselves into the stock market and such. By having the option of becoming an entrepreneur, they start their own business. This takes great bravery and risk taking. Thinking and planning for the future is crucial. We also have the wealthy to thank for their donations. We can enjoy benefits from some of their charities. An example of this is the Highline in New York City.
Not all in the upper class obtain their wealth through working traditionally or simply being born into a family with wealthy lineage. Many of them created their own wealth. In fact, there have been cases where people came from low on the social hierarchy and climbed their way to the top. I believe this requires a combination of luck and wisdom. A person can work endlessly everyday of their life and never obtain their end goals, but with a bit of luck, the hard work can balance out and gets a push. Icons such as Oprah Winfrey, Ralph Lauren, J.K Rowling, and so many more were born and raised in a poor environment. They worked diligently and fought through the obstacles in their lives, becoming famous names anyone would know.
The difference between the rich and those who live in poverty is clear. Their quality of life cannot be compared and barely has similarities. Within the same country, we have people living lavishly, and we have others whose struggles are ignored. This is not to say the wealthy should be blamed for anything or that they do not deserve their riches. While many of them work hard for their status, others do not. There are many sides to this topic but one thing is undeniable: the wealthy and those living in poverty have polar opposite lives, and actions should definitely be taken to help those who desperately need it.
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Adams, Tucker. “Poverty in the United States.” ColoradoBiz 39.1 (2012): 10. Web.
“Poorest Dying Nearly 10 Years Younger Than the Rich in ‘Deeply Worrying’ Trend for UK.(Report).” Pediatrics Week (2018): n. pag. Print.
Davydov, Youri, and Greselin, Francesca. “Comparisons Between Poorest and Richest to Measure Inequality.” Sociological Methods & Research (2018): n. pag. Web.