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Presentation on theme: "INEQUALITY IN THE USA."— Presentation transcript:


2 There are 3 sections in this unit...
People Social and Economic Political

3 PEOPLE Population Settlement Patterns Immigration

4 SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Links to groups in the population
Evidence of social inequality… Crime, Health, Education, Housing Evidence of economic inequality… Poverty, Unemployment Government responses Evidence of progress

5 The USA is one of the wealthiest countries in the world where many have worked hard to make money and achieve the American Dream. However, this is not equally spread across all population groups in America. For many, the American Reality is a life of poverty and discrimination. Many depend on welfare in a country where capitalist ideology favours a strong work ethic and minimum state intervention. Therefore, America is a very unequal country, especially amongst different ethnic groups and family types.


7 Poverty in America – Documentary (Feb 2012)

8 RESEARCH TASK You will work individually to carry out research on the
issue of inequality in the USA. You will use a range of resources to find... What the inequalities are Evidence of inequalities Causes of inequalities Effects of inequalities


10 A disproportionate number of blacks make up numbers of arrests, prosecutions & prison sentences.
Most crime occurs in inner city, economically disadvantaged areas – with large black & Hispanic populations. USA is biggest user of prisons in the world, Texas has the highest prison population. There is evidence of discrimination in the handing out of prison sentences – blacks and Hispanics receive longer sentences than whites. White Americans more likely to commit rape and hate crimes, whereas blacks are more likely to be arrested for murder. Blacks are also more likely to be the victims of murder. Blacks over-represented in the number of arrests for violent crime whereas Asians are under-represented. In death penalty cases there is a race-of-victim or race-of-defendant pattern. More likely to receive this sentence if victim is white.


12 US educational system one of the most unequal in the world.
Pupils experience different learning opportunities not just because of race but also due to their social status. In wealthiest 10% of school districts educational spending is ten times more than the poorest 10%. Hispanics have high dropout rates and low college completion rates – mainly due to financial pressure to support the family. A high school diploma (at least!) is essential to avoid poverty. Blacks and Hispanics who drop out find it almost impossible to earn a decent income. In ghetto areas educational ambition can be smothered by a feeling of apathy towards school – feel left behind and segregated. Asians achieve the most – double college graduate rates of whites. More Asians employed in management and professional occupations. They place a great importance on education and are the most educated group.


14 A large gap in home ownership still exists between whites and other ethnic minority groups.
Total home ownership rates have dropped – repeated in the rates for blacks and Hispanics. The dream of becoming a home owner is only true for less than half of black and Hispanic Americans. Blacks and Hispanics can find it difficult to get a mortgage due to the area they live in or because they are unemployed/living on a low income. They buy what they can afford or rent – congregate in areas together and live in poorer quality housing (ghettos).


16 Americans need private medical insurance to pay for health costs.
Ethnic minorities more likely to be uninsured, receive poor quality care, suffer more health problems and die prematurely. Usually uninsured due to unemployment, employer does not provide cover or because they do not qualify for government funded care. Native Americans, Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to rate their health as fair or poor in comparison to whites and Asians. Black women have the highest death rates from heart disease, breast and lung cancer, stroke and pregnancy among women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Native Americans are more likely to suffer from alcoholism and diabetes. Infant mortality is twice as high for black infants as it is for white infants.


18 Approx. 40% of Americans will find themselves below the Federal Poverty Line at some point within a 10 year period. Black Americans have the highest poverty level overall however, Hispanics have seen the biggest increase in poverty (but still below the level of Blacks). Blacks and Hispanics more likely to experience social and economic inequality as a result of poverty compared to other groups. They become trapped in the poverty cycle. This has created a ‘Black Underclass’ living in ghettos and finding it hard to get a proper education, employment and health care cover. Many have to rely on welfare for their income due to limited job opportunities – blacks are the biggest group receiving welfare. Main cause of poverty for Hispanics is the rise in immigration. Less Cubans living in poverty than Mexicans and Puerto Ricans as they have a more stable population and have achieved the American Dream.


20 Recession has led to a sharp rise in unemployment for all ethnic groups.
But this is not shared equally – biggest rise in the rates for blacks which is almost double the rate for Asians and whites. Due to location – many blacks live in areas which are struggling due to changes in industry and the economy. Also because blacks and Hispanics are concentrated in employment sectors hardest hit by the recession e.g. construction. Black and Hispanic employment rates are also lower than whites even in times when the economy is booming. Those ethnic minorities who are working are more likely than whites to be working in jobs which pay a lower wage thus giving them a low income. There is a link to family type – black families are more likely to be lone parent households which makes if difficult to balance work and family commitments. Asians seek out occupation with increased job security.

21 Attempts to reduce Social and Economic Inequalities in the USA

22 SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Links to groups in the population
Evidence of social inequality… Crime, Health, Education, Housing Evidence of economic inequality… Poverty, Unemployment Government responses Evidence of progress


24 Medicare Provides health care cover to those aged 65 and over. Medicaid. Health care cover for the poor (those below the Federal Poverty Line.)

25 Children’s Health Reauthorisation Act (2009) Provided just under $33 billion to provide health care cover for over 11 million children who do not qualify for Medicaid but are too poor to afford health insurance. This is paid for through increased taxes on tobacco/cigarettes.

26 Health Savings Accounts People who have health insurance can put money into these accounts to pay towards any health expenses. The money saved is not subject to any taxes or charges

27 Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (2010) President Obama’s flagship health reform bill. It has made health insurance compulsory but also stops health insurance companies from dropping patients from their books or refusing to cover patients with certain conditions.



30 Housing and Economic Recovery Act (2008) This act has increased government funding for community development block grants. It has also created a first-time home buyer credit to help those trying to get a mortgage for the first time.


32 Gang Prevention, Intervention & Suppression Act Passed in February 2009, it has increased law enforcement resources committed to investigation and prosecution of violent gangs. It aims to deter and punish violent gang crime and protect citizens/communities from violent criminals. It also plans to expand and improve gang prevention Programmes.


34 No Child Left Behind Act Makes states set tests in basic skills – reading, writing and maths. The results are published along with attendance figures - the aim is to push the performance of schools. Students identified as struggling after these tests will be given additional help.

35 The Bilingual Education Act Pupils given the right to be taught in their native language. Over 80 languages are used in schools throughout the USA.

36 Opportunity Scholarship Programme Provided in certain states e. g
Opportunity Scholarship Programme Provided in certain states e.g. Florida and Washington DC. Provided grants to low-income families so they can pay for extra tuition therefore, improving the students educational chances. Also used to identify the most able students and provide them with grants to enable them to go to college.

37 College Opportunity & Affordability Act (2008) Increased funding for colleges who serve low income and ethnic minority populated areas. Aims to make student lending easier and fairer. Also wants to keep tuition costs down e.g. when purchasing materials such as textbooks.

38 AFFIRMATIVE ACTION … The American government has also used….
… to combat inequalities in education.


40 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Money given to states by the federal government to provide welfare payments to poor families in return for looking for work (Welfare to Work programme) Food Stamps Provided by Dept. of Agriculture – funding for low income families to purchase food. Often through a bank-style debit card rather than paper coupons. Child Care & Development Block Grant Money given to states by the federal government for child-care assistance to low-income families.


42 The American Jobs Act (2011)
Gives tax cuts to small businesses to help them grow and create jobs. Cuts the taxes paid by over 160 million workers. Prevented 280,000 teachers from losing their jobs. Set up the ‘Pathways to Work’ programme for the long term unemployed e.g. tax credits given to employers hiring from this group.

43 AFFIRMATIVE ACTION … … has also been used to combat inequalities in employment as well as education!

44 President Johnston 1965 What was the problem?
That beginning is freedom; and the barriers to that freedom are tumbling down. Freedom is the right to share, share fully and equally, in American society - to vote, to hold a job, to enter a public place, to go to school. It is the right to be treated in every part of our national life as a person equal in dignity and promise to all others. You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, "you are free to compete with all the others," and still justly believe that you have been completely fair. Thus it is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates.

45 no easy answer to SOLVING INEQUALITY!
Education is needed to ensure a basic standard of living and avoid poverty. Jobs to provide income which means people can provide for their family. Decent homes in decent surroundings and an equal chance to learn. Welfare and social programs designed to support families. Care for the sick is a basic right.

46 Affirmative Action (aap’s)
Defined as positive discrimination. Introduced to prevent discrimination towards ethnic minorities and women. HOW IT IS DONE: Employment: Preference given to ethnic minorities and women when hiring and promoting staff. A certain proportion or QUOTA of the workforce had to be minorities or female. Education: Schools and universities had to ensure they had a racially and sexually mixed amount of students.

47 Affirmative Action Programmes are unfair – what is good in theory is not good in practise.


Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act has not significantly increased numbers with health insurance. It will cost A LOT of money to implement – approx. $940bn over 10 years. Many Americans are not happy that their tax dollars will be used to pay for those who cannot cover their own health.

Only 11% of eligible students have applied for the Opportunity Scholarship Programme. They have to pay for part of the cost of their tuition under the arrangements of this programme - they cannot afford this.

TANF has actually increased poverty levels for some families. Because it is only temporary and families have to find work under the arrangements, some end up having to take jobs which pay very poorly and leave them with less money. Some parents have to work 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet – this is not good for family life.

Affirmative Action: How it works Finish notes from book For & Against Handout Social & Economic Progress: Any evidence? Handout – key points Continued Inequality: Government response Notes from screen Evidence Booklets Essay on Inequality: Model plan Handout


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