Good Example Of Essay On Poverty In The US And Its Effects On Single Mothers

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Social Issues, Poverty, Family, Children, Women, Education, Government, Workplace

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2021/01/19


Poverty in America has been viewed as a national concern and challenge. Even as the economic status of the country show signs of progress and improvement where the poverty levels off, there are still data from the census that the gains of the economic development are uneven, or is not affecting those who are at the lowest level of the society. Not all segments of the populations are positively affected by the current economic turnaround. In fact, there is increasing number of people that falls into the level of the lowest-income group. The poverty among single mother families is also on the rise. There are fewer people that can move into homeownership status in the past five years. Thus, the recovery of the national economic system is highly selective.
According to the 2013 annual survey, the Americans who belonged to the poverty level remained unchanged at around 46.5 million. In this number, the share of the single mother families has increased into 4.1 million. It is about 4.1 increase from the past four years considering the data of the declining trends of marriage and the increasing number of child births of out-of-wedlocks. Majority of these single mothers belong to the low income population with minimum and lower education (Yen, 2013). There is an interrelationship between poverty and the family structure. Most of the families that are headed by single women are found below the poverty line. Poverty then, greatly includes around 45% of the children that are fatherless. There is a correlation for the increasing poverty to the single mothers. However, it does not mean that if the single mothers are paired up, then the inequality would be lessened. There is a complex relationship between single parenthood with the poverty. The circumstances about poverty are already straining to families. Liberals point out that much of the economic forces has decimated the urban communities robbing most men a job, that is considered as the utmost prerequisite for marriage (Badger, E., 2014).
Poverty is a social issue that requires attention from the state and the government. The economic acceleration of the nation does not automatically elevate the poorest of the poor. In fact, these people are situated in the lowest status of the nation, where external interventions are necessary to uplift their sorry conditions. Furthermore, most of the people that belong to this poverty level are the fatherless and raised by single mothers. This part of the population needs the prompt aids from the government. In order for the state to minimize the number of people belonging to the poverty line, there must be emphasis to cater the needs of the single mothers through legislative initiatives, community welfares, and other development programs.

Attempts at Solution

The number of single-mother families is currently increasing at a rate that is alarming the national government. Historically, the children growing with mother nurturing since the 1960 to the 1983 has increased to 20.5 percent from 8.2 percent. Today, there are many black children in the US that are raised fatherless. Most of these female-headed families are thriving in poverty. Sociologists consider the increase of the “feminization of poverty” on the wage discrimination of the female workers. An argument raised by the conservatives stated that there are some welfare programs that discourage the mothers and fathers from living together because the benefits of the single mothers provided by the national government exceeds the expectations of the husbands and wives. The trend of the sexual norms also contributes to the increasing number of single mothers. Accordingly, the state of single motherhood is a product of self-perpetuation, where most of these mothers are also born from single mothers. There is a higher tendency for these women to stay in the poverty level for various reasons. Primarily, women are earning less than men. Secondly, they are only getting the meager benefits from welfare programs. And lastly, only a small percent of the fathers are paying for child support (Garfinkel and McLanahan, 1987).
Since most of the people that belong to the poorest of the poor are raised by single mothers, the government instituted various attempts to help alleviate this concern. With the preposition of the single motherhood prone to poor status of life, the federal government spent a tantamount money to promote marriage among the poor people. In the Welfare Reform of 1996, there was an increase in the welfare eligibility and expansion of programs that intended to encourage people to get married and prevent single parenthood. This move caused an increase in on the employment of single mothers at that time. However, it did not change the course of direction for the structure of the family trends (Cohen, 2013). Garfinkel and McLanahan suggests that there should be strengthening of the enforcement of child support than the welfare reform for poor single mothers. They also favor the increase of allowance for the children from $300 to $400 annual grant (Garfinkel and McLanahan, 1987). There are arguments in the society that states that the Government Welfare are not the solution for the poverty among single mothers. In fact, it is even considered as the root of the problem. There should be a weaning off of the subsidies from the government for all types of families. The answer for this dilemma is accordingly found in the private sectors, as stated by Alan Scholl of the Freedom Project Education (Bohon, D., 2012). According to Wilcox and Lerman of the Urban Institute, they suggest that education for the young people is a recommendation for the economic improvement for the families in America. They also suggested to introduce a private-sector driven initiative for a national campaign for all the young adults to live according to the success sequence: education first, then job, next marriage, and finally children (ElHage, 2014).
The community is part of the solutions for the improvement of the nation. Vanessa Freytag of The Women’s Fund stated that the community must be the first to understand why a certain family remains to be poor, especially those who are headed by single mothers. The community initiatives can help alleviate the prevalence of poverty by lifting up the conditions of single mothers. The Women’s Fund, for example, attempted to address the funding gaps provided for single mothers in Ohio through the initiative of Gateway Community Technical College called the Raise the Floor program. They intended to help women in gaining skills in manufacturing that would be useful in the Northern Kentucky job market. They sponsor the programs for the education of these women. The community-centered initiatives that they started are contributory keys to help the nation to win against poverty (Woolley, M., 2014). However, despite the many help that the single mothers can receive from the government, private sector, and the community, the best action that could help them are their own set of actions. The individual initiative to fight poverty and promote economic success is the most important key. Single mothers can help themselves and their children to gain a better life. They can follow the elementary rules to gain success: education, that is, to graduate at least high school, to get a full time work, and get married in 21. (Haskins, 2012). When these steps are followed, there is a high chance that they would improve their status in life.

Economic Context

The issue about poverty in the US is closely related to problems of work effort. There are people who have no work because they cannot, they do not want, and they do not work enough. The families headed by single mothers are entirely difficult. Mostly, these women find it difficult to earn a living from the available jobs that they are qualified. There is a need to get these people out from poverty by providing more jobs for them. However, the economic scopes of single mothers are usually limited due to the extra effort they have to extend to their children. There must be more full employment policies for them. There must also be bigger investment that should be allocated to the education, basic trainings, and skill developments for these people. In some way, they can break out from their economic malaise (Edelman, P 2010).

Cultural Context

The ongoing prevalence of children belonging to the poverty line is directly associated to single mothers raising them and the absence of fathers at their homes. There is a higher number of children that are poor and raised by single mothers as compared with those who belong to complete homes. Children raised under the responsibility of married parents likely reduce the probability of children living in poverty by significant percentage. This poverty is mostly due to the fact that single parents are mostly receiving less education as compared with those who are married. Even the comparison between single parents with the same level of education with the married couple would still result to the same value in the statistics of those who belong in the poverty level. Marriage is considered as a powerful and strong weapon to fight against poverty (Rector, R., 2012).

Ethnic Context

The data for the single motherhood when scrutinized in accordance to the ethnicity, it is evident that there is a higher percentage for single mothers for African-Americans of about 52%. The composition of the Whites is about 18%, while the Hispanic traces have around 30% (Hoffmore and Mercado, 2014). The children born of multi-races from single mothers are inclined to belong to the poverty line as compared to the other kids born of the Americans and Asians, but likely lesser than those who come from the African-American, Native Americans, and the Hispanic races. There is an inherent association of poverty to the various factors of society. Race and ethnicity are factors that the operations of society. According to the researchers of the Pennsylania State University and Rice University, there are around 45% of children that are raised by single parents and they are coming from multiracial population (McCaig. 2013).

Employment Context

Single mothers are twice as likely to out of jobs when compared to married women. The employed single mothers which comprise around 62 percent belong to the labor force that offer low wages and few benefits. These low wage working single mothers mostly young, unmarried, unemployed, and less educated. Around 61 percent of the low income generating single mothers did not reach college. They are more likely to be unemployed when compared to those mothers who are paid high. The combination of the characteristics of children born out of single mothers has higher risks for the negative outcomes in life. These women are mostly disconnected from the education, thus, they will potentially remain joblessa and poor (Mather, M, 2010).
The issue of poverty among the single mothers is being addressed by the government. Most of the single mothers have stopped schooling due to the burden of pregnancy, then later, taking care for the child and provision of the child’s needs. The government is offering federal financial and need based financial assistance that aids the students in attending schools despite their pregnancy. There are also Temporary Assistance for the Needy Families or (TANF) that provides for the relevant resources intended for those population that need assistance in achieving economic independence. The state is also undertaking the restructuring for the basic education of the adults. They are also imposing community programs to accommodate working women who prefer short courses compared to degrees courses. There are bridge programs and career pathways in various states such a Arkansas, Oregon, Kentucky, and others (Povich et al., 2014). There are many changes in the previous programs of the government. The Welfares has ended. However, the Child Care Assistance continues administered in various states. This assistance is provided by a wide array of sources that includes private sectors, non-profit organizations, school institutions, and government subsidies (Bane, 2009).

Policy Recommendations

The research for the underlying context of the causation of poverty in the US in association with the concerns of the single mothers is continuous. Researchers and other advocacies are in the move to educate the public regarding the significance of the issues of women having low incomes and are situated in the poverty line. There are drives that teach women to gain successful strategies to best assist these women. They are teaching self-sufficiency programs that help mothers exit poverty and gain financial freedom. Included context for further research are the aspects about education, child care, employment, income supports, and health care (CFW, nd).


The cycle for single motherhood needs to be stop to best address the issue of poverty among the single mothers. Mostly, there is a repetition of the history of single motherhood among the families. Its end is the key for the economic improvement of the many families in the US that belong to the poverty line. There is higher risk for children born out of single parent to belong to the poverty level. The way to eradicate this is to provide for the education of these children. Educating the younger generations about the social and economic benefits of parenthood reservation under umbrella of marriage would likely make a lasting impact to the society (ElHage, 2014).

Professional Training

Financial Recommendations
The policies that help single mothers are changing from time to time depending on the leaders of the land. Some of the recommendations that would help women in their financial challenges include pay equity, paid leaves, child care, protection of pregnant women, minimum wage, scholarships for women with low income, Universal 402, Consolidated Government Aid, and elimination of marriage penalties (Khazan, 2014). There are policies that provides a higher federal minimum wage, pay equity policies, strong enforcement and implementation of anti-discrimination policies, and others (DeBell et a, 1997).

Quality of Life

The formulas that are used to figure out poverty affect the criteria for the various grants, forms of assistance, and support programs. The basic formula in the measurement of the quality of life in the society can be indicated by the number of surviving people at the subsistence level. In the US, the measure is through their definition of poverty via the typical spending of the families in the budget for foods (Brown, 2008). The quality of life is equated to the well-being of the impoverished people. This quality of life is dependent on various factors, from the basic health of the individual, to the quality of relationships both in the primary and family, the emotional attachment, and the intellectual achievement or fulfillment of the individual. Measurement of this factor can be done through the crime report, school records, and various surveys for behaviors. There is a formal equation the derives the Child-Well Being (CWI) that covers the health, education, community, society, and the emotions of the child that belongs to the poverty level (Austin, et al., 2004).

Other Interventions

The issue of poverty in the US where the single mothers are directly part of the causation and the directly affected party, has been redefined again and again. The public opinion for ”poor” connotes unwillingness to work and earn a living, and are considered as totally dependent on the government. However, with the amendment of the various policies and legislative acts regarding this concern has redefined the connotation of poor. The poor people are those who are unable to support themselves or those who cannot take care of their family and even themselves. There are various political support programs that assist the cause of struggling working single mothers. They are receiving child care supports as well as the Earned Income Tax Credits. There are some states that implement various approaches to help alleviate poverty such as increasing the security for food, food stamp participation, food budgeting education, and increasing the employment rate for the young men (Bane, 2009).

Works Cited:

Austin, M., Chow, J., Hastings, J., Taylor, S., Johnson, M., Lemon, K, and Leer, E. (2004).
“Serving Low-Income Families n Poverty Neighborhoods Using Promising Programs and
Practices: Building a Foundation for Redesigning Public and NonProfit Social Services”. Accessible through
Badger, E., (2014). “The Relationship between single mothers and poverty is not as simple as it
seems”. The Washington Post.
Bane, M. (2009). “Poverty, Politics, and Policy”. Focus. Vol 26. Accessible through
Bohon, D. (2012). “Traditional Families Key to Reducing Child Poverty”. The New American.
Brown, P. (2008). ‘Poverty, Public assistance, and Single Mothers”. JCSW. Accessible through
CFW. (nd). “Single Mothers and Poverty: Agenda for action”. Montgomery County:
Commission for Women.
Cohen, P. (2013). “To Prevent Poerty, Reduce the Penalty for Single Motherhood”. Family
DeBell, M., Yi, HY., Hartmann, H. (1997). “Single Mothers, Jobs and Welfare: What the data
tell us. IWPR.
ElHage, A. (2014). “To Fight Child Homelessness, Strengthen Families”. Family Studies.
Garfinkel, I. and McLanahan, S. (1987). “Single Mothers and Their Children: A New American
Dilemma”. Research Reports: Reviews of New Research by Public Agencies and Private
Institutions. The Urban Institute. Washington: USA.
Haskins, R. (2012). “Combatting Poverty: Understanding New Challenges for Families”.
Brookings: United States Senate Committee of Finance.
Hoffmire, J and Mercado, M. (2014). “Single Motherhood and Poverty”. Progress Through
Business, Inc.
Kahne, H. and Mabel, Z. (2009). “Single Mothers and Other Low Earners: Policy Routes to
Adequate Wages”. The Center for Social Policy.
Khazan, Olga. (2014). “The Plight of Single Moms-and the Policies That would help”. The
McCaig, A. (2013). “Multiracial children of single mothers more likely to live in poverty”. Rice
Mather, Mark. (2010). “US Children in Single Families”. PRB: Inform, Empower, Advance.
Povich, D., Roberts, B., and Mather, M. (2014). “Low Income Working Mothers and State
Policy: Investing for a Better Economic Future”. The Working Poor families Project. Accessible through
Rector, R. (2012). “Marriage: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty”. The Heritage
Woolley, Matthew. (2014). “Single Mothers and Children hit hardest by poverty in Cincinnati”.
Soapbox Cincinnati.
Yen, Hope. (2013). “4.1 Million Single-Mother Families are Living in Poverty: Census”. Huff
Post Business.

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