With regard to our chapter 8 discussion this week, I wanted to give you all the opportunity to learn a little more about poverty and disadvantage.
A little background about me. When I moved to Arkansas, the primary reason I took the job that got me here was about helping people who were already in poverty. I was, and continue to be, fascinated and appalled by this component of our great country. For all the advancements we have, we still live in a culture that is significantly in poverty. A few facts to help you along the way…
For an individual to fall within the poverty guidelines of the United States, we operate under the idea that a person making $11,770 per year (according to the Department of Labor). To make that, someone working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year would be earning about $5.88 per hour. Alternatively, following minimum wage guidelines ($7.25 an hour), that means that someone can work a maximum of 1,623 hours per year (roughly 31 hours each week).
The US Census Bureau reports that about 15% of people in a family of 4 fall under the poverty line in 2014. To put this in localized terms, in the city of Conway, 9,444 people would be considered to be under the poverty line at 2014.
Almost 9,000 people in Conway would be considered food-insecure by national reporting rates. (At the 2014 Census reporting, 14% of Americans were considered food-insecure, or lacking access to nutritional food options that are affordable.) In Arkansas, however, that rating goes up to 19.7%, what would equal 12,572 people in Conway alone.
Here are a couple of interactive websites that might make your understanding of poverty a little deeper. They are game-oriented, so that can be something that will keep you informed while engaged.
This website gives you 1 month to survive poverty-driven decisions. I’ve played this several times and I can say I’ve never lasted a month, but I do wish you luck!
This game challenges you to live in Haiti to survive as long as possible as a family decision-maker. Lots of choices about education and farming, putting worldwide poverty into perspective.
Tie these ideas to the idea of Privilege and Disadvantage, as we discuss in 8.4!