Matt Black (along with Trymaine Lee, Amy Pereira, Mina Liu, and Sam Petulla) has produced an extraordinary photodocumentary of the geography of poverty in the United States [ht: ja].
The sheer number of poor people in this country is striking: fully 45 million meet the official guidelines for poverty. And that doesn’t include millions more who are among the working poor – those who tip-toe just above the government’s official poverty line, which for a family of four means an annual income of less than $23,850 and for an individual means an annual income of $11,670. Recent reports suggest more than 50% of food stamp recipients are the working poor.
For the first time in more than 50 years, the majority of America’s public school children are living in poverty.
What does this all mean for folks trying to achieve some semblance of the American dream, let alone keep food on the table and a stable roof over their family’s heads? With the myriad roadblocks that often confront poor people, like a lack of access to a quality education or a good job, what prospects do people in this group have for overcoming these hurdles? What does success and survival even look like when you’re poor in America?
And what does it mean for a country that has done all it can to forget about the existence of widespread poverty across its length and breadth?