Millions of families living in poverty in the U.S. struggle with difficult decisions each day. Poverty is the result of unemployment, low-paying jobs, and lack of affordable housing and health care. When paying the bills becomes difficult, many families are forced to compromise on basic necessities, including groceries, housing, diapers, school supplies and clothing.

In 2015, more than 43 million people—or 13.5 percent—were living in poverty in the U.S. Many of these families are also at risk of health complications, as low-income families often live on high-carb, processed foods, which contribute to health problems. This becomes a cyclical pattern–as health problems increase, health care bills can become staggeringly expensive.

Fast Facts

  • Almost 20% of children under the age of 18 live in poverty.
  • Children that live below the poverty line are 1.3 times more likely to have a learning disability.
  • In 2015, Mississippi was ranked the poorest state in the country with a poverty rate of 22%.
The lowest-earning 20% of households in America spend over 40% of their income on housing.

FINDING A SOLUTION

Underlying causes of poverty such as unemployment and low-paying jobs, and a lack of affordable housing and health care all need to be addressed before we find a foolproof solution for ending poverty. With many contributing factors, there unfortunately is no easy solution to poverty in America. Food banks and homeless shelters help with everyday needs and provide a safety net for individuals and families in need, but permanent social housing, more job opportunities and proper social resources will need to become available in order for individuals to lift themselves out of poverty. Short-term solutions can only help individuals to an extent. Each neighborhood and city requires its own tailored solutions in order to be successful in helping their community members break the cycle of poverty.