Poverty is systemic throughout American society, as its existence is readily found in politics, economics and discrimination. Rather than impacting people at random, its presence is most notable in populations that have a history of oppression, such as children, women, African Americans and Latinos.
Although families in the upper economic class have fully recovered from the Great Recession, as of 2015, middle and lower class families experience little to no improvement in their financial situation. People in the bottom five percent of earnings have had incomes fall by 0.8 percent, and those in the middle class are dealing with a 1.2 percent decrease in earnings. The amount of money earned is fueled in large part by the upper 20 percent of class, who captured more than 50 percent of all income in the United States in 2012.
In 2012, 15.3 million people age 65 or older avoided poverty due to Social Security, while four million people avoided poverty because of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and 1.7 million skirted poverty because of Unemployment Insurance. In the same year, 42.5 percent of African American children and 37.1 percent of Latino children under the age of 5 lived in poverty. Now that half of all births are children of color, the number of young children who are living in poverty is apt to make a great impact on the future workforce and economy.