consecutive years of increases in the level of poverty in the United States,

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 Current Population Report, 46.2 million Americans are considered impoverished – 15 percent of the country’s population. Approximately 16.4 million American children – 22 percent of the population younger than 18 – live in poverty. The rate for people 65 and older is 8.7 percent.

Among the most impoverished are:
  • Those living in female-headed households with no husband present (31.2 percent).
  • Young adults without a high school diploma (31 percent overall; 43 percent for blacks).
  • Those living in a family whose head is unemployed (32.9 percent).
  • Minorities (27.6 percent for blacks).

If any good news can be extrapolated from these grim statistics, it would be that after three consecutive years of increases in the level of poverty in the United States, neither the number of people living in poverty nor the poverty rate was statistically different from the 2010 findings. In other words, things didn’t get any worse.

Measuring the extent of poverty does nothing to ameliorate the lives of the poor, but compiling and understanding poverty statistics is essential to solving, or at least addressing, the problem.

Governments, policy makers and society at large depend upon precise and timely information about poverty in order to create and deliver the most effective solutions, as they continue to chip away, bit by bit, family by family, and community by community, at the scourge of poverty.

For this assignment, you will conduct Internet research about poverty in the United States and create a photo essay that depicts the economic struggles that many Americans are facing today. Photo essays consist of a collections of photographs or images that portray a particular message. The idea of this assignment is to be creative, so don’t let a new type of assignment hinder you. Your photo essay should have an organized theme, linking two photos in some way in the essay.

Theme ideas include a certain area or region (urban or rural), lost jobs, a personal story, the recession, immigration, economic impact of globalization, low-paying jobs, slums, kids and poverty, hunger, elderly and poverty, single parents and poverty, health care and poverty, drugs, or other social issues that may be associated with poverty. You are not limited to these ideas; you may pick any theme that you think depicts the economic struggles of Americans.

You will submit the following in one document:

  1. Two photos that support one common social theme.
  2. Each photo must come from a different webpage, article, or source. In other words, do not find an article or photo essay online and copy both photos from that one source. The photos may be your own photos, photos found online, or a combination of both.
  3. Provide a 100-word (minimum) description for each of the two photos that states what each of the photos represents.
  4. The descriptions should educate the reader about the social theme you are presenting.
  5. Provide a 150-word (minimum) summary of your photo theme and explain how social class as a social structure influences the opportunities or life choices for the individuals or individual in your photo essay.
  6. Conclude with a statement of what you learned from this photo essay assignment.

Please make sure to cite the source of each photo and any other source materials used in this assignment. Click here for assignment examples and instructions on how to cite and reference photographs.


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