4 out of 5 Americans face poverty in their lifetimes, says survey (+video)
Survey: 4 out of 5 Americans will live in or near poverty at least one year of their adult lives, and twice as many whites as blacks are already in poverty. 'Poverty is no longer an issue of "them," it's an issue of "us," ' says the researcher who calculated the numbers.
4 out of 5 US adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty, or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.
Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized US economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.
The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality.
As nonwhites approach a numerical majority in the US, one question is how public programs to lift the disadvantaged should be best focused – on the affirmative action that historically has tried to eliminate the racial barriers seen as the major impediment to economic equality, or simply on improving socioeconomic status for all, regardless of race.
Hardship is particularly growing among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families' economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy "poor."
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