Grades K-5

Activity 2

“Who Lives in the State of American Poverty?”

What exactly does the face of poverty look like in America? For younger children, the “official” facts and figures issued by the federal government may have little impact in helping them grasp how the problem of poverty affects so many in the United States. As an initiating activity for early grade groups, open the activity by reading one of the suggested resources, such as Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting, which tells the personal stories of families living in poverty. Then, using the stories as a springboard for discussion, introduce the following questions, aimed at separating the facts from the myths about poverty in America.

Q. Who is poor in America today?

A. Poverty affects all types of people in the United States. Whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, Native-American and Asian-Americans are all affected by poverty.

Q. Do poor people only live in the city?

A. Poverty can be found in all kinds of communities in America. Poor people live in the suburbs and the country, as well as the city.

Q. Are poor people poor because they don’t work?

A. Many people who are living in poverty have jobs, but do not make enough money to pay for all the things they need for them or their family, such as food and clothing.

Q. Are homeless people and poor people the same?

A. Although many poor people are homeless, most poor people live in houses or apartments. But while they may have enough money to pay the rent, they have little left over to buy other necessities.