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Jessica Pozzani
Feb 16, 2019
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The chapter immediately started with a heartfelt story that I think we all can sympathize for, a
child who is poor and with a single parent. I was shocked to learn that on a planet with 7.3 billion
people, 2.4 billion live in extreme poverty. As it is broken down with GDP in American of $50,00,
Africa is less than $1,000 and Americans do very little to think about these other individuals.
Tables 6-1 and 6-2 I found to be quite interesting because it of often represented that the middle
class is shrinking and growing poorer, which is quite contrary. Only two categories grew from
1990 to 2014 which are the 1/5 with the highest income and the top 5 percent, which is
encouragement to me personally because while there still are people in the lower classes, the
middle class has appeared to be shifting up in income (Kornblum, 2017). Table 6-2 shows the
dollar figures that each of the categories has as a mean which alarmed me with such a significant
increase. What most of my friends and I would categorize ourself being ‘next highest 1/5′ but in
order to increase to the next income threshold is over double what the mean income is for this
bracket. With a mean of $87,000, one cannot achieve a higher status unless they have an
increase of over 100% to get up to $194,000! It is both scary and appalling that the Top 5% has
grown 3 percent over 20 years, but they earn up to 22% off all income! This leaves the ‘average’
family in a rut while the saying continues as the rich get richer the poor gets poorer (Kornblum,
2017).
In regards to those who are currently living in poverty, they are not a small category of the
population. The book states it is almost 15 percent of the population which looking at in terms of
all Americans in the country, is quite a staggering number. I found it disheartening that it is
estimated that about half of Americans will experience poverty in some form throughout their
lives. Nobody asks to be born into poverty or even to experience it, it is simply something that
happens and as individuals that are in a higher place, I feel should offer some form of assistance.
In children, it is estimated that over 20 percent live in poverty. No child wants to be in poverty,
not know what its like to have extra money to spend on toys, get an allowance, or small things
that middle and upper class children can enjoy (Kornblum, 2017).
The last figure in the chapter (figure 6-7) explains so much in relation to how poverty infiltrates its
way into every aspect of a persons life (Kornblum, 2017). As someone who has never experienced
something like this, I didn’t’t take a step back and see how many places this manifests and how it
can perpetuate inequality in a young child. For example, a baby born into poverty is already at a
disadvantage because maybe throughout the pregnancy the mother didn’t take prenatal vitamins,
didn’t have access to quality health care, didn’t have the best nutrition- so even at a few days old,
they are already at a disadvantage than a child born into a richer household. The problem only
gets worse and continues with the next generation, which is quite saddening.
Reference
Kornblum, W. (2017). Social problems. Boston: Pearson. Retrieved from
https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780133981506/cfi/27!/4/4@0.00:0.00
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Anicha Jean Pierre
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I think its crazy how poverty is continuing to increase in the US, even for years many have said
that this needs to be fixed. Not much have been done to fix the issue and its becoming harder for
individuals to get an education/or find a decent job to support their family or even themselves.
The tuition colleges are becoming more expensive and more job are looking for individuals with a
certain degree which is harder to get. “Although those who are rich are able to take advantage of
various ways of improving their situation, those who are poor face an entirely different set of
circumstances” (Kornblum, p.157).
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Not only does It effect the parents to make ends meet and pay bills, as well as put food on the
table but children are so effected by it but it isn’t talked about enough. They tend to be very
antisocial and because of it they don’t have many friends. They’re afraid of getting judge so they
keep to them selves at school and around their age group. Once they become old enough, they
minds are so fixed on working right after school or quitting school or focus on keeping a job to
help with the bills that friendships don’t become so important. I’m not saying that children in that
circumstance don’t think to have friends or feel alone because of so, its just that their
responsibilities are different from everyone else in their age group which affects them hard. Form
the story in the beginning of the chapter on page 152, Shelia wants her daughter to stay in school
because she doesn’t want her to go through the same thing when she grows up now knowing
that she didn’t finish high school herself but it also shouldn’t stop her from helping her mom with
the bills.

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Also, children are more at risk of attracting illnesses. With the lack of income that’s coming in
from paychecks, medical bills are defiantly something the poor wouldn’t want to add on,
especially since it’s the most expensive bill there is. Keeping up with health is hard when you
don’t have enough money to buy a full meal everyday, instead they’ll just have to settle for
anything they can get their hands on which is sad. Something that needs to be changed is that if
the government were to pay attention to those who are struggling to pay medical bills, they could
at least help by paying fully or at least more than half. Instead, people are dying because they cant
get the medical attention that they need and there’s usually not enough amount of families to
come to together to help pay or find cheaper alternatives. “Parents living in poverty face a high
level of stress, depression, and mental health problems related to their situation” (Kornblum,
p.170)
Kornblum, W. Social Problems. [MBS Direct). Retrieved
from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780133981506/
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