Poverty: Facts vs Misconceptions
Watch this great video from Poverty USA:
We have many ideas about and solutions to poverty, but more often than not, those numbers don’t add up to reality. Like this video says, what is needed is not a hand out, but a hand up. And as I wrote in Real Poverty,
“If there is one thing that I have learned over the last three years of living in Allendale, it’s that the real face of poverty is not what I always thought it was.”
Misconceptions About Poverty
If you were to ask me 10 or 20 years ago (or even 5 years) about poverty, I would have been able to give you some very strong opinions. I probably would have called them “facts,” like:
- Poverty is mostly about a lack of money.
- People who are poor just need to work harder to earn more money.
- People are poor because they have made bad decisions. The solution is to show them better choices.
- Standardized tests are uniform and equally fair among all socioeconomic groups.
- Opportunities are uniform across social classes.
- Giving poor people money won’t help.
- Government and church programs are perfectly helpful, or horribly unhelpful.
- Those in poverty only want welfare and handouts.
- Early childhood programs are a nice, but not necessary, option for parents.
- Some kids are beyond help, and need to be written off.
Each of these topics could be a blog post in itself. I have touched on all of them at some point, but much more can be said.
And that’s what I want to do — to write more on these topics. I’d love to hear from you about where I should start. Can you leave a comment saying what questions you have on any of these “misconceptions”?
Or, simply take the poll below.
Thanks for your input!
- Poverty Robs You
- Poverty: An Imbalance of Opportunity
- How Would You Define (and Solve) Poverty?
- Poverty Poll
- Poverty and Power