Blog Action Day: Poverty – Slipping into the darkness (9am – Yes, I know I'm late )

Okay, sorry for the delay. I promise I wasn’t sleeping. I was eating and had some meetings. Yeah, can you believe it? I get no breaks around here!

So how do people slip into the darkness aka poverty?

What causes poverty? A major reason is wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of housing, healthcare, childcare, and education in our area. Consequently, many hardworking families struggle to earn enough income to support themselves and their families. United Way is a member of The Basic Needs Coalition of Central Texas. They produce a great fact sheet outlining these causes, I’ve summarized a few here;

  • Low wages – In Travis County, almost 22% of households make less than $25,000 per year. Much of employment is in service jobs that pay low wages and have few, if any, benefits.
  • Education opportunities – Employment and income earning potential are directly related to education attainment. A high school diploma increases a person’s lifetime earnings potential by $1 million; a college degree increases that to $2 million.
  • Illness and Healthcare Costs – A 2005 Harvard study concluded that illness and medical bills caused half of the 1.45 million personal bankruptcies in 2001. Surprisingly, most of those bankrupted by illness had health insurance. More that ¾’s were insured at the start of the bankrupting process. A common procedure such as an appendectomy and associated hospital bills, can easily cost in excess of $30,000. Remember, Texas also has the highest rate of uninsured in the whole country! Roughly ¼ of Texans lack any health insurance.
  • Other causes include mental illness, disabilities, and various forms of social exclusion

Do you think you could survive any of these conditions? Tell us how you could overcome.


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