PovertyPanama vs the United States





Recent years have seen a significant reduction of poverty in many countries of the world due to the recovery of economic growth after the “lost decade” of the 1980s. Yet, poverty keeps on being a social problem that affects thousands of individuals of different countries like Panama and the United States. Everyday, more and more children and women are livng on the streets. In both Panama and the United States, most of the poor are the children under 18 years old, as well as the women, most of whom have children, yet have never been married, or have been through a divorce which has left them without anything, and the elderly. The difference thought is that in the United States are also included both latinos and afro-americans. Both racial groups have had immigrated to the country looking for better opportunities. Years ago, afro-americans constituted a great percentage of poverty in the United States, yet, now a days, Latinos are being more and more exposed to low salaries, poor neighborhoods, large families and discrimination from some. All these are rapidly contributing to the rise in percentage of poverty among Latinos. Since a huge part of the United States population comes from immigration, the poor in the United States are probably younger than in Panama. This being because most immigrants are young individuals who come looking for opportunities. They usually come alone to find work and end up forming their own families as well. Then, they send for their families. In Panama on the other hand, as well as in most of latin america, immigration is not a very big social problem.
Most of the poor people living in Panama are those in the rural parts where jobs are not available, unless you are a farmer, and where living conditions are terrible. There are places in which there is no electricty or telephone and drinking water is not available. This brings diseases yet, there are not hospitals available in those places and if there are, they have not got the equipment to give the proper assistance. This is basically what contributes to the poorness in Panama. Unemployment is also a problem in both Panama and in the United States. In 1998, poverty was reduced to 38% and unemployment to 13.2% from the economically active population in Panama of 1.1 million people. On the other hand, in 1997 the United States reduced its poverty level to 4.7% from which adult women was 4% and men 4.1%. Another problem that increases poverty in both countries is the lack of equity in the distribution of wealth. In Panama more than 25% live with less than a dollar





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