Introduction to covering poverty– by Douglas C. Bachtel
Why you should cover poverty in your county:
- Poverty, or low socioeconomic status, is a shorthand label for individuals and families who are underemployed or unemployed, work a poorly paid job, live in substandard housing, experience poor health indicators such as high infant mortality, and/or suffer from a disability.
- The poor experience death rates twice the ratio found for people living on incomes above the poverty level.
- Low income puts an individual at higher risk for developing chronic diseases prevalent in this country. Heart disease is 25 percent higher in low-income populations than the general population. The survival rate is also lower among the poor.
- Cancer incidents increase as income decreases. Lung, esophageal, oral, stomach, cervical and prostate cancer occur more frequently among the poor. Breast and colon cancers also are diagnosed disproportionately among the poor. As with heart disease, survival chances among the poor are lower.
- Traumatic injury and violent crime strike victims in poverty disproportionately as well.