Impact of Poverty on Americans

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In the film, Poor Kids, British Academy Television Award for Best Current Affairs director, Jezza Neumann emphasizes the imbalance of social and economic inequality by linking the two together. The film highlights children threatened by poverty. In multiple occasions, we witness families being taken from their homes because they can’t make the bills that coincide with their houses. Poverty can happen in a matter of weeks and a lot more people are affected than you would expect. This corrupts the plan of achieving the American Dream. The American dream is idealized as the picture-perfect house with a picket white fence and a family. Poverty is directly shown the readings/film, Child Poverty and Intergenerational Mobility, Poor Kids, and Poor Kids USA (updated). Realizing that poverty is almost always unavoidable, can bridge the gap between why social and economic issues are prominent.

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In the article, Child Poverty and Intergenerational Mobility, economic security team at the NCCP, Sarah Fass emphasizes the effect of poverty on children in impoverished families. By using the argument of logos, Fass explains the likelihood of children being exposed to poverty, if they grew up in poverty. Needless to say, adolescent economic status and adult economic status are directly linked. Impoverished people don’t have the money to spend on things other than essential products, such as bills and groceries. In my own words, I named this, the cycle of

poverty. This is a term used for children who grew up in an impoverished family and continue to be impoverished into their adulthood. Fass quotes, Those who experience poverty in childhood are substantially more likely to be poor as adults than those who have not (5). This quote is especially important because it explains the cycle of poverty. When a child in an impoverished family grows older, the likelihood of them falling victimhood of poverty is increased. The underlying issue is that this cycle repeats over a multitude of generations, excluding the 1% who break this streak.

In the documentary, Poor Kids, we learned that a family in America can quickly succumb to poverty. With a lot of parents that do not participate in college, minimum wages are not equipped to pay off household debt. Most parents in the documentary hold multiple jobs with a minimum wage pay. The quote, Sometimes work is slow, is constantly being brought up. The importance of this quote is to realize that these jobs that they’re preforming, only depend on the customers buying from them. If a work week was slow or better known as no one was buying their product or service, there was either a small or in some cases, no paycheck. With a small paycheck, it would be difficult to support yourself, but add a family and pets in and it’s nearly impossible. The family does not have enough money to support themselves or others, creating the label of impoverished.

In the updated version of Poor Kids, we witness the children in the original documentary commentating on how their life has changed in terms of the last time the filmmakers updated. The idea of this piece is to update the film watchers from the documentary. The families are all doing as well as they can at this time, taking life one step at a time. Classie, a character in the documentary quotes, We are just taking it day by day (2). Throughout the film, we witness a series of families being inflicted by rising poverty levels. Watching families mental and physical health decline. There are always chances to get out of poverty, but the there are certain barriers that prevent it from simply happening. Overall, the main connections that Jezza Neumann was trying to get across in the documentary is how social status is linked to economic status.

The American dream is defined as a man’s ability to live freely and have plenty of land to be successful in their life and with their families. Poverty directly correlates to the American dream because the threat of having no money can make that dream harder to achieve. While not being able to inhibit such a dream on your own, adding a family to the mix makes that dream nearly impossible to achieve. The ultimate goal of most Americans is to achieve the American dream. If not being able to pay the bills was enough, American’s made impoverished people as outcasts. Social stigmas are produced by people who are in a middle or upper class because of their economic status, ultimately dividing America into economic differences. Realizing that there needs to be a change in the label, may allow for more recipients to come forward and possibly reverse the damaging effects of poverty.

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Impact of Poverty on Americans. (2019, Apr 15). Retrieved December 5, 2022 , from
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