Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Poverty in America is rising. We need a plan to fight it


Andre M. Perry
Monday, December 23, 2019

Here is a rarely publicized fact about our booming economy: Despite stock market highs and low unemployment, poverty in the U.S. is pervasive. The number of people earning less than $25,750 for a family of four is rising in both Republican and Democratic districts, and across racial and geographic lines.

According to an analysis of Census Bureau data by Stateline, a division of the Pew Charitable Trusts, poverty increased in 30% of all U.S. counties between 2016 and 2018. Researchers found that poverty cut across racial and geographic boundaries “from 97% white and solidly Republican-voting Carter County in Kentucky to black-majority, Democratic Bullock County in Alabama.”


Economic distress between political districts deserves attention. Incomes in Republican-voting districts have declined from $55,000 to $53,000 since 2008, according to Brookings analysis. Democratic districts, however, have seen median household income rise from $54,000 in 2008 to $61,000 in 2018.


“We live in a nation that makes sure they put a basketball and a football in the hands of every Black boy before the age of four,” engineer Calvin Mackie told me
for a column I wrote for the Hechinger Report. Mackie runs STEM NOLA, an organization that seeks to engage community members in STEM fields.

“We have to put STEM in the hands of all of our children,” said Mackie. “From the time they are born, we have to introduce [children] to science and technology so they can see themselves as a participant in the 21st century.”

By “participant,” Mackie means employable.


No comments:

Post a Comment