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Poverty in Single Mothers

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Jennyfer Medy Sociology Professor Sobel POVERTY IN SINGLE MOTHERS Poverty is defined as “the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money” (http://www.ask.com/wiki/Poverty). Poverty continues to be an epidemic we face in the United States. “According to an analysis of census data, 7.9 million people live in high-poverty neighborhoods. About 30 percent of the population in these neighborhoods is Black, 29 Hispanic, and 24 percent White. (Chapter 10/Social Class, pg.255; handout). As we take a closer look, poverty is at an all time high in single mothers. “In 1970, the number of single-parent families with children under the age of 18 was 3.8 million. By 1990, the number had more than doubled to 9.7 million” (http://www3.uakron.edu/schulze/401/readings/singleparfam.htm). According to textbook Sociology Matters by Richard T. Schaefer, “since World War II, women have constituted an increasing proportion of the poor people in the United States” (Schaefer, 2013, pg 146). The factors that lead women into poverty include the departure, disability, or a death of a husband. Single mothers are also more likely to be poor because of the lower income earnings, inadequate public assistance and lack of child support from fathers. The conflict theory is highly depicted among poverty in single women. “Conflict theorists and other observers trace the higher rates of poverty among women to three distinct factors; the difficulty in finding affordable child care, sexual harassment, and sex discrimination in the labor market” ( Schaefer, 2013, pg 147). Majority of a single mothers’ income is spent towards child care. For that reason single parents tend to seek out unpaid help from extended family, neighbors and friends. Poor, single, working parents are forced to choose work over spending quality time with there children. Some jobs may require long and irregular hours that single mothers are not able to work and forced out of the work force. The majority of these mothers have little education, leaving them with few job opportunities or jobs that only pay minimum. With a minimum wage, parents with two or more children often have little money left over after paying child care. As a result, single mothers are forced to stay home and apply for public assistance to maintain housing and food for their children. In Beautiful Souls by Eyal Press (2012), readers are introduced to a woman by the name of Leyla. Leyla encounters poverty when she becomes divorced, becoming a “single mother with two young children to support, no job, and virtually no money in her bank account” (pg.132). Divorced, unemployed, depressed, Leyla was too weak to lug groceries home in her own and, after a few more weeks, too broke to buy her kids much of anything, which didn’t stop her from trying (Press, 2012, pg 145). This story truly shows us what women face when they encounter being a single mother with no means of income. Despite the challenges facing poor single mothers, some families have been able to function well and promote education and responsibility to their children. Some single mothers overcome poverty and find jobs suitable to maintain as their children grow older. Despite the struggle and depression Leyla faced of being a single mother in poverty, she became a broker working in a firm. Leyla was now financially stable and, an educated single mother who stood up for her beliefs in the work field. Single mother families continue to have their daily struggle and disadvantages. I believe single mothers must never give up and put more effort to over come all obstacles in providing for their children. Growing from a single mother household myself, it is very much possible to ensure that children of single mothers are raised with the knowledge that education is a valuable tool of success. I truly respect and commend all single mothers and I hope they can rise above the poverty they face today.

Reference

Schaefer, R. (2012). Sociology Matters, New York, NY, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Press, E. (2012). Beautiful Souls, New York, NY, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
U.S. Census Bureau (2011). People below Poverty Level, Retrieved from Chapter 10/ Social Class pg. 255. http://www.ask.com/wiki/Poverty http://www3.uakron.edu/schulze/401/readings/singleparfam.htm

POVERTY IN SINGLE MOTHERS

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By: Jennyfer Medy…...

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