chapter
4 Pages

Introduction: The Paradox of Poverty in America

American society is based on paradoxes. Its citizens are at once

among the richest and the most economically insecure in the de-

veloped world. While income inequality was once on the decline,

over the last twenty years the distribution of wealth and pros-

perity in the nation has become more unequal. Individuals and

families at greatest risk for poverty are men with less than a col-

lege education, people of color (especially blacks and Hispanics),

working families and families headed by women, and a significant

number of the nation’s elderly, who live at or close to the poverty

line. A reflection on late 950s America reveals a nation poised to

embrace a vision of opportunity shared by all. It is a reflection we

begin with to tell the story of America today. America is not the

nation it envisioned itself being four decades ago. In the land of

opportunity, many of its citizens experience poverty, economic

insecurity, and income inequality on a daily basis.