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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Men and Poverty

For a breakdown of poverty levels by gender, please access the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

Men may be the most strongly affected by poverty. Men traditionally have been raised to be providers. Even though poverty is lower for men than women, most men feel helpless when they can't provide for their family. And a new study, written up in the Washington Post January 29, showed that boys who grow up in poverty are less likely to be working at age 30 than the girls. These findings used tax records, stripped of identifying information, to study rates of employment at age 30 in Baltimore and Washington, D. C. Men who grew up in poverty in the urban areas studied were 13%-16% less likely to be working. Income is also lower when they are able to work. Nearby rural areas show no discrepancy between the two genders.

Reading levels can often be at sixth grade level, which shows that the boys are affected by poverty at a young age. Some factors that may be problematic are lack of role models, lack of child support, a higher incidence of discipline problems and more severe segregation in the community, and a higher number of single parents (Badger and Ingraham). In addition, there are fewer low-skill jobs available in our economy, so high school graduates or lower can not just get a job in a factory or steel mill.

According to Bill Yarrow (Yarrow), men are less likely to get an advanced education, 90% of incarcerations are men, and one in three men are not working for reasons that have not been studied. Poor men are less likely to have health insurance, seek medical help and have adequate care (Treadwell and Ro). In addition, low-income jobs tend to be more hazardous, and labor may not organize to enforce labor law. Among inmates who have lost their medical care after incarceration, there is a higher incidence of "communicable disease, chronic disease and mental illness" (Treadwell and Ro).

The chances that a sixteen-year-old black child will be incarcerated is  29%, while for a white child it is 4% (Street). That any child in our country is ten times more likely to be incarcerated than the children in Sweden makes  a strong argument for moving overseas for child-rearing.

Badger, Emily and Ingraham, Christopher, "The striking power of poverty to turn young boys into jobless men," Washington Post. January 29, 2016,accessed 5/24/16.

Street, Paul, "Race, Prison, and Poverty," History is a Weapon,, accessed 5/24/16.

Treadwell, Henrie M. and Ro Marguerite, "Poverty, Race, and the Invisible Men"
Henrie M. Treadwell, and Marguerite Ro, Am J Public Health. 2003 May; 93(5): 705–707.
 You can follow the progress of this organization: Community Voices. (@CVatMSM  is their twitter address), Supporting healthcare for the underserved in pursuit of a healthier America.
Yarrow, Andrew L., "A quarter of American men live in or near poverty," San Francisco Chronicle, , accessed 5/25/16