Detroit Today: Can America solve its poverty crisis?

37.9 million Americans live in poverty according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Homeless person sleeping outside.

Despite America being the richest country in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), poverty remains a persistent challenge.

Deep poverty tends to be chronic in that it persists generation after generation. Recent data shows 6.2% of Americans live in deep poverty — meaning $13,100 annually for a family of four.

Poverty remains an issue in part because over the last 50 years, inequality has grown as our economy has changed to favor those at the top of the wealth chain, while costs for things like education, healthcare and housing have skyrocketed.

Princeton University professor and author of the book “Poverty By America,” Matthew Desmond, joined Detroit Today to discuss our nation’s ongoing poverty problem.

Listen: Why America hasn’t solved its poverty crisis yet


Matthew Desmond is a sociology professor at Princeton University and author of the book Poverty By America.” He says that living in poverty drains the mind and body of energy, adding an extra “cognitive load.”

“The experience of poverty taxes the mind,” says Desmond.

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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.