The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration’s emphasis on the economy.
According to a new survey conducted by the Associated Press, 4 out of 5 adults in the US will struggle with “joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives.” This is seen as a sign of “deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.” But what are the reasons behind this trend? “… an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs” appear to be the main causes.
According to the Huffington Post:
As nonwhites approach a numerical majority in the U.S., one question is how public programs to lift the disadvantaged should be best focused – on the affirmative action that historically has tried to eliminate the racial barriers seen as the major impediment to economic equality, or simply on improving socioeconomic status for all, regardless of race.
While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in the government’s poverty data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.
While poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics are nearly three times higher, by absolute numbers the predominant face of the poor is white.
More than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four, accounting for more than 41 percent of the nation’s destitute, nearly double the number of poor blacks.
By race, nonwhites still have a higher risk of being economically insecure, at 90 percent. But compared with the official poverty rate, some of the biggest jumps under the newer measure are among whites, with more than 76 percent enduring periods of joblessness, life on welfare or near-poverty.
On the surface the statistics appear to be quite dire. But if you sit down and think about it, what they really show is that a significant number of white people are now in similar situations as nonwhites have been consistently for the last 30+ years. As Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis who calculated the numbers from the research points out, “Poverty is no longer an issue of `them’, it’s an issue of `us’. Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need.”