Urban Plunge Poverty in the United States
Introduction • Associate Director for Catholic Social Tradition & Practice at the Center for Social Concerns • Co-Director of the Minor in Catholic Social Tradition • Director of the Urban Plunge
Outline of Course • Orientation & Poverty in U.S. • Catholic Social Teaching & Poverty • Truth about Exploiting the Poor: G. Rivlin • Immersion: Urban Plunge • Reflection & Analysis: Faculty • http://www.nd.edu/~uplunge
Poverty in the U.S. • Current federal poverty line: $10,830 for a single person; $22,050 for a family of four • 43.6 million people (14.3%): More than largest state’s population • 1 in 7 people • 1 in 5 children: $500 billion annual cost to the U.S. economy from childhood poverty • Among industrialized nations, only Mexico has a higher % of children living below the median income than the U.S. has
Poverty Trends • Poverty rates were basically level until recently since 1970 & responsive to the overall economy • Poverty rate in 2009 (14.3%), up from 12.5% in ‘07 was 1st significant ^ since ‘04 • Since 1960, the # of people below poverty has not exceeded the 2009 figure of 43.6 million • Poor are disproportionately minority, in single parent families, non-workers or marginal workers & the less well educated
Share with a Neighbor • What are some of the causes of poverty of the people you will meet?
Causes of Poverty • Behaviors of the Individual • Addiction, mental illness • Lack of human & social resources • Few jobs, lack of childcare • Exploitation • Pay Day loans, Predatory Mortgages, Sweatshops • Political/Economic Structures • De-industrialization, taxation patterns
Faces of Poverty • Women • 66% of minimum wage jobs are held by women • Children • 20% of children poor in U.S., making up the largest population currently receiving gov’t assistance • More than 15 million • Learn less as adults, complete fewer years of education, face more health issues • People of Color • People of color make up 33% of U.S. population but > 63.6% of pop. in poverty
New Dimensions to Poverty • Multiple waves of industrial “restructuring” compounded by global economic downturn • Rustbelt job decline in late 1970s & early 1980s • Current employment downturn • Not temporary or cyclical, this is producing fundamental changes in communities
Downturn Not Affecting All Equally • Continued higher poverty rates among women and children • Wealth gains in recent years being taken away from African-American families • Decline in unions • Decline in housing wealth • Disinvestment in entire communities reduces the collective capacity to rebound from loss and support individuals/families in stress
Families • Increase in homeless families (nationally) • The proportion of homeless families as the overall homeless population increased from 29.8 in 2007 to 32.4% in 2008* • Family homelessness increased most especially in suburban and rural areas, by nearly 56 percent between 2007 and 2008. During that same time, the number of homeless individuals in suburban and rural areas increased by nearly 34 percent* • *HUD, 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (July 2009)
Poverty Line • How was it created?
Poverty Line • Method established in 1960’s to address the “War on Poverty”: based on food • An acceptable short term (emergency) diet was determined • The basket of food items it required was priced • That price was multiplied by 3 • Controversial approach
Hunger • Nearly half of all low-income families who use food pantries are working families with children. • In 2008, 49.1 million people lived in food-insecure households, including 16.7 million children. • National average is 14.6% go hungry • Households below poverty 42.2% • Single women with children 37.2% • Black households 25.7% • Latino households 26.9%
Healthcare • In 2010 the average cost of health insurance for a family of four (about $13,300) was more than the salary of a minimum-wage worker working full-time for the whole year ($13,200) • 50.7 million in U.S. have no health insurance • Mental health costs more (no equity) & is 1st cut in budget reductions by gov’ts
Housing • Millions of workers can’t afford to pay for housing: nowhere in U.S. can one work 40 hours a week at minimum wage & afford a 2-bed apart. • Less privately-owned affordable housing • Housing available is risky: substandard, overcrowded, structurally inadequate • Federal support for housing has shrunk • Significant barriers to Federal housing assistance: 1 in 8 w/ Section 8 cannot find a suitable apt. or an owner willing to take it
Housing Crisis • It is estimated the total loss of wealth for people of color to be between $164 billion and $213 billion for subprime loans taken during the past eight years. This represents the greatest loss of wealth for people of color in modern US history • Compared to whites, African Americans have a higher proportion of wealth in “functional assets” (housing and cars) 64% vs. 37%
Eroding Wealth • A 2006 report found that the “most conservative estimates indicate that each conventional foreclosure within an eighth of a mile of a single-family home results in a decline of 0.9 percent in value.” • Debt servicers persisting in down economy and taking advantage of the poor
Working Does Not Always Work • If working were the sole solution to poverty, low unemployment rates should produce low poverty rates • However, during last 10 years, 10-14% of the U.S. population has been living below the poverty line despite unemployment rates of only 4-9%: working poor • Presently over 14.3 % below poverty & 9.6% unemployed
Inadequate Compensation • Over past 3 decades, median family income grew only 1/3 as fast as productivity • 2.6 million Americans work full-time year-round yet still live below the poverty line • Women earn less than men; only 77 cents for every $1 a man earns • Black women 61cemts • Latinas 52 cents
Urban Poverty • Least in newer cities that can still annex land and attract population • Memphis, Jacksonville, San Jose • Worst in older cities – • Large: e.g., Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Philadelphia • And smaller: e.g., Newark, Pittsburgh, St. Louis • People in poverty in Chicago alone would make it the 12th largest city in the U.S. • What is the future of some cities?
Denver neighborhood in similarly-sized area Denver Neighborhood in comparable area
Future of Some Cities • Cleveland in distress • Lost half of its population since 1960 • Decline in steel, auto, and other manufacturing jobs • Foreclosures hit Cleveland early and hard. By the summer of 2007, four of the top 21 ZIP codes for foreclosure filings in the U.S. were in Cleveland.
Poverty of Place • With lower density … • Harder to sustain city services • Harder to sustain existing institutions, for example: • Schools • Health care services • Child-care centers • Religious institutions • Social service • Social support networks deteriorate • Less resilience in preventing further financial and social deterioration
Causes of Urban Poverty • Deindustrialization • Discrimination: Housing & Employment • Lack of Human Capital • Segregation • Migration
Deindustrialization • 1970’s increased international competition loss of manufacturing jobs • Manufacturing jobs IN CITIES replaced by service sector jobs IN SUBURBS • Left workers in cities with few jobs • Disproportionately hurt African American men
Discrimination • Minority groups hurt by DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING MARKETS as they tried to move to suburbs • Minority groups also hurt by DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT MARKETS (occupational segregation) • The more minority or women workers in a job category, the less that occupation is paid (England and Farkas, 1986).
Lack of Human Capital • Leads to urban decline • Smaller tax base led to reduction in services, e.g., education, police protection, etc. • People in cities increasingly have lower levels of human capital = education, job skills, job experience
Segregation • The most significant result of housing discrimination is segregation. • Elimination of housing discrimination would, it has been estimated, reduce segregation by as much as one half (Galster, 1996). • It increases by an estimated 33% the chance a young black man won’t work.
Migration • Poor move in; middle class leave • Outmigration: • depletes social capital • = Role models, access to networks that share job info and establish trust, etc. • reduces resources for remaining role models to share • Inmigration: • allows newcomers to replace older residents in existing jobs and housing • Out and In: Low income residents are displaced through gentrification
Solutions to Poverty • How are sites you visit addressing the issue • 2 Feet: Charity & Justice • Direct Service • Education • Advocacy • Empowerment
Solutions • Seeking new models of development and the creation of affordable housing • Less emphasis on housing ownership (and risk), more on affordable rental • Creating mixed-income housing • Supporting inclusionary zoning (Balanced Development Campaign in Chicago) • Establishing land trusts • Maintaining and strengthening deteriorating social networks in some neighborhoods • Reassessing strengths: asset-based community development • Increasing resident voice in local policy decisions • Expanding employment opportunities and fair wages • Providing more living wage jobs • Protecting disability rights (flexible work requirements, etc) • Bolstering Worker rights, e.g. for older workers • Strengthening unions, particularly for low-wage workers • Guaranteeing educational opportunities • Enhancing job training for jobs in new economy • Improving the quality K-12 education, particularly in central cities • Improving supportive services for women and children • Early childhood education • Child-care services
Solutions • Community Organizing • Education reform • Healthcare reform • Adopting “Living Wage” policies • Redefining the “Poverty Line” • Individual Development Accounts • Worker Cooperatives
Social Analysis • Experience • Analysis: • What assets and challenges do you see in the city? • What are the causes of the challenges you see? • Theological Reflection: • How does your faith guide you to act on these challenges? • Action Plan: • What will you do to follow up? For example, what courses will you take? How will you be involved in the South Bend community after? Etc.
Sites Meet & Next Class • Sun., Nov. 21st at 6:30 pm • Catholic Social Teaching & Poverty • Read Caritas in Veritatelink on webpage • Remember to register for the course when you are darting in • Right now go meet in your city groups with your site leaders: rooms posted outside