What does “living in poverty” mean? Does the phrase conjure images of the homeless? Or families solely dependent on public assistance? The reality of living with financial insecurity and a lack of opportunity is much more complicated – and impacts millions who may not fit into traditional poverty stereotypes. Many Americans work multiple jobs, are retiring at the end of decades of employment or are looking to continue their education at community colleges and still struggle to pay their rent, keep utilities on, or have enough to eat.
Today, approximately 39M people in America live in poverty.
The looming poverty story is that 4 in 10 Americans are one missed paycheck away from poverty. And 40% have no money put aside for an emergency. By 2030 there will be 72 million seniors living in poverty in America.
To understand more about the perceptions and realities of poverty in America today, Microsoft News is proud to partner with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity to create the series, Poverty Next Door. Journalists and filmmakers from across the country bring to light the stories of this critical issue in our society, along with ideas to empower action.
We examine the stories of generations who struggle to make ends meet on minimum wage, the LGBTQ elderly and those who strive to attain higher levels of education in the wake of natural disasters. We follow the challenges of the disabled, learn more about the culture of poverty for black entrepreneurs, and celebrate the success of a housing program for Veterans in New Orleans.
We journey from rural West Virginia to urban Philadelphia, North Carolina to Louisiana, Los Angeles to Georgia, unearthing the realities of living in poverty for many.
Each piece reveals the personal stories of those around us and offers solutions to help change our perceptions of poverty and enable positive change. Readers can explore poverty rates by state and county, contribute their own stories on economic struggles, and take action by exploring the various relief opportunities provided.
To learn more about poverty in America today, read “Poverty is a story about us, not them.” Then explore other stories in the series available now. Watch for future installments over the coming months.
In this season of giving and beyond, please also explore ways you can help those living in poverty today.