Decline of the “Middle Class” in America
Arizona Poverty Level is on the Rise
The Associated Press is reporting that poverty in Arizona and throughout the United States is on track to rise to its highest level since 1960. Many economists are predicting an increase in the poverty rate. Americans across many social-economic groups are becoming more financially vulnerable. The economy is not only affecting people without jobs and the poor, but the weak economy is also affecting workers and families who are underemployed. Suburban families who are sliding from “making a decent living” to “struggling to make ends meet” are part of the ever-decreasing Middle Class.
It seems that more and more individuals and families throughout Arizona who were once considered to be part of the middle class are experiencing true poverty and poverty level situations and living conditions. The increase in families living below the poverty line will lead to more consumer bankruptcy filings and additional debt relief efforts by many people who are experiencing financial difficulties.
Poverty is the “lack of the usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions.” The government’s definition of poverty is based on the total income earned during the year. A certain level, (which changes every year), is set as a measuring stick for what is to be considered poverty, (for example, in 2012 the poverty level was set at a yearly income of $23,050 for a family of four). If a family is earning less than this level, they are determined to be “living in poverty”.
As we mentioned, poverty levels are increasing to levels that haven’t been seen in decades. The rise in the number of poverty cases among former “middle class” families is a frustrating issue for families throughout Arizona. Families who are now below the poverty line are concerned about what needs to change to get them back above the poverty level and the families who are still part of the ever-shrinking middle class wonder what preventative measures they must take to stay above the proverbial “poverty line”.
Some bread-winners have had success in their careers making a decent living and making a comfortable life for their families. When the economy takes a turn for the worse, when businesses are seeing decrease in sales, and when companies are laying off employees, times that were once manageable for these bread-winners, have become difficult and depressing. Life for “middle class citizens” as we know them, has become a fight and a struggle to survive and maintain. The on-going recession and the economic problems in Arizona have left some of the working class with broken spirits, and broken financial situations.
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