10 million People in US Live on Less than $2 a Day

The study shows that the idea that poverty is “marginal” and “temporary” is “erroneous.”

Rates of social mobility in the United States are worse than those registered in European countries.

The statistic puts the U.S. behind countries like China, Russia and Thailand.

Almost 10 million people in the United States subsist on less than $2 a day and live on the edges of the economy, assured Laurence Chandy, researcher from the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Chandy explained that when income is taken into account, around 10 million citizens subsist “with practically no money,” thanks to social benefits, such as food stamps or free meals from public schools and charity organizations.

The expert said in an interview that “people who are excluded from the economy” are most vulnerable to unforeseeable changes, such as illness or a death in the family.

Chandy, who has just published a study on the poorest segment of the country’s population, affirmed that “very little is known about the population that subsists beneath the poverty line;” it survives under the shadow of academic studies.

However, “poverty in this country is a latent problem,” with almost 46 million people living beneath the poverty line, set at $16 a day, and around 20 million subsist on less than $8 a day.

“The U.S. is not known for its generosity.”

The peculiarity of the country’s poor, he added, is that “they are able to subsist with almost no income thanks to benefits and social services,” bearing in mind that when compared with European countries, “the U.S. is not known for its generosity regarding public subsidies.”

Developed countries “tend to presume that extreme poverty isn’t a problem that can affect them,” the expert pointed out.

According to the expert, “the political focus concentrates on measures aimed at the middle class,” which contributes to the spread of the idea that poverty is marginal and temporary, and even that “anyone who wants to succeed can succeed.”

It is true that social mobility in the United States has remained “quite low” in the last 50 years, which is quite the contrast to the idealized American dream.

Additionally, social mobility in the country has not only remained low in recent decades, but is also lower than the rates registered in the majority of European countries, Chandy highlighted.

Chandy indicated the need to allocate more resources toward the study of extreme poverty in the United States and the richest segment of the population in developing countries, something that is “barely studied.”

With the aim of initiating public policies to ameliorate the situation of the most disadvantaged citizens, the first step is to learn about their situation and “understand how they are able to subsist on less than 2 dollars a day,” he added.

A comparison of the amount of people who live in extreme poverty around the world, on less than $2 a day, would place the U.S. — Chandy added — behind the urban populations of Argentina, China, Jordan, Russia and Thailand.

About this publication

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply