80% of Americans at or near the poverty line, disproportionally those of color

Poverty and inequality in the United States has reached unprecedented highs. While companies like Mylan price hikes their life-saving medical product EpiPen and makes hundreds of millions every year; 50 million Americans now live below the poverty line with 80% of the population is at or near it. As globalization has pushed and more jobs (especially manufacturing) overseas, more and more Americans are now out of work.

This month of September, the Associated Press gave statistics on an increasingly widening gap between the very rich and the poor. It is important to note that these figures are not only due to the lack of jobs (or well-paying jobs), but because medical and education costs in the United States have forced entire families to go bankrupt.

What do the studies show?

Some of the findings from the 2016 edition of Basic Facts about Low-Income Children include:

More than 4 out of ten U.S children are living near the poverty line. In 2014, 44 percent of children under the age of 18 lived in low-income households and 21 percent lived in poor families (15.4 million). This is still much higher than the start of the Great Recession.

Children are more likely than adults to live in poverty, and if you compare children to those aged 65 and above, they are twice as likely. America’s youngest children are the most likely to belong to low-income or poor households. This fact is important because it shows that the new generation of parents are significantly poorer than their parents were. Disparities in child poverty do persist along racial lines. More than 60 percent of Black, Hispanic and Native American kids do live in low-income families, compared to 30 percent of Asian and white children—this dynamic is the same since 2008.

Shouldn’t parents just go to school and get jobs?

To those that claim that the parents of these children should just get more education is frivolous, many of the parents have higher education and live in two-parent households. Nearly half of children living in poverty have parents with a college education.

Many studies have shown that poverty itself and lack of resources leads to many diseases and health issues. It also leads to psychological damage that penetrates deep into the brain tissue. It is not merely an issue of living a decent standard of living. It is a public health issue.