Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science




poverty, discrimination, poor, americans, high


The United States’ robust economy is internationally touted for its prodigious GDP ($13.21 trillion), diverse and reliable methods of production, and the great fortunes that have been made here. (Hatfield, 2) There are more millionaires in America than the rest of the world combined; California’s GDP alone is greater than that of Germany’s- which has the third highest GDP in the world. The U.S. consistently exports goods at unprecedented rates, ranging from high-tech electronics- to Nebraska grain. Historically, American business regulations have proven to be conducive to innovation and achievement, leading to life-changing inventions, and facilitating the emergence of a vastly middle class citizen-body. (Hatfield, 3) Yet, beyond this country’s collective wealth and resilient middle class, lies the often-overlooked existence of abject racial poverty in its cities. This compelling data, depicting America’s urban socioeconomic conditions, particularly the considerable gap between rich and poor, is rather perplexing; How could a nation with such celebrated wealth have the existence of acute poverty in its urban centers, particularly among African-Americans? Moreover, what are the causes of poverty in the United States, and how can it be reversed in this well-regarded capitalist society?