Photographing America's Poverty Problem

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Census numbers show that the U.S. has reached its worst level of poverty since 1983. About 15 percent of Americans live beneath the poverty line. That means that almost 46 million Americans do not earn $11,100 dollars a year as a single person; or, that they live in a family of four that makes under $22,314. The numbers beg the question: are the poor being forgotten in this country?

Photojouranlist Steve Liss says that the problem of poverty may be even worse than the Census data suggests. Liss is a professor of photojournalism at Columbia College in Chicago and director of AmericanPoverty.Org, where he documents poverty with vivid photographs.

Comments [6]

J Ferry

Encourage those who are interested to read Understanding Poverty in the U.S., just released, for some surprising facts about households labeled as poor in the U.S.
http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/09/understanding-poverty-in-the-united-states-surprising-facts-about-americas-poor

Sep. 16 2011 09:44 AM
dorothy from LA

@rob kammerer from new york ... that's photo journalism in a nutshell...

Sep. 16 2011 06:10 AM
rob kammerer from new york

This morning Celeste had suggested taking photographs of your family and neighborhood that may illustrate the ramifications of poverty. I would like to add that in taking photographs of your neighborhood be respectful of neighbors who may be in the photograph. I do not believe many people would like to be in photograph supposedly showing "what happens to people when they are poor".
Some may argue such photos seed a helpful response. But the argument could also be made it is exploitive of someone's unfortunate circumstance.

Sep. 15 2011 06:12 PM

The problem is that we care WAY TOO MUCH for the poor but we have setup our government much like helicopter parents and thusly retard the growth of those citizens by making them completely dependent upon that parent/government.

Sep. 15 2011 09:52 AM
Erin from NY

It's interesting that the richest areas of the country tend to be the bluest states politically and the poorest are the reddest. If the richest in America are voting in ways that imply higher taxation for top income earners and support for programs like national healthcare, why are so many in the right wing trying to block that? It could be the fear of the many who are not the richest that they could be further taxed that keeps us so deadlocked, preventing income to our economy for programs that would help the poorest.

Sep. 15 2011 09:37 AM
maya hasegawa from Roxbury (Boston)

Poverty is increasing because the wealth gap in widening. I believe that we expect a family of four to live on about $23K a year. Try living on that as a single person. Programs for the poor have changed in the past years. Many now encourage finding employment, not just living off benefit. But, hello, no jobs. We are in a vicisous cycle here and the way out is creating jobs and the transportation for people to get to them.

Sep. 15 2011 06:34 AM

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