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Poverty in America: A Handbook Paperback – February 6, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0520248410 ISBN-10: 0520248414 Edition: Second Edition, With a New Preface
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Highly readable. Will very likely become a standard reference for students of poverty." - William Julius Wilson, author of When Work Disappears "With succinct and engaging prose, Poverty in America covers the gamut - from theoretical issues to measurement to history to public policy - better than any other book out there right now." - Dalton Conley, author of Honky"

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Praise for the first edition:

“Highly readable. Will very likely become a standard reference for students of poverty.”—William Julius Wilson, author of When Work Disappears

“With succinct and engaging prose, Poverty in America covers the gamut —from theoretical issues to measurement to history to public policy—better than any other book out there right now.”—Dalton Conley, author of Honky
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Second Edition, With a New Preface edition (February 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520248414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520248410
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #663,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Iceland is Head of the Department of Sociology and Professor of Sociology and Demography at Penn State University. His research focuses on social demography, racial residential segregation, poverty, and immigration issues. His latest books are Portrait of America (2014), Poverty in America (3rd edition published in 2013), and Where We Live Now: Immigration and Race in the United States (2009), all published by University of California Press.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By F. Tore on October 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
Today in our nation's Capitol at least between 5,000 and 10,000 poor are living, dying, and going hungry in the streets each day. This is appalling for supposedly the richest and most powerful nation on earth.

Obviously some people believe it is all the fault of the poor that they are poor in America. This is only true if a person is mentally and bodily able to work. Poverty in America has many causes and I believe John Iceland begins to address the problems. Sad that someone may find this book too academic. What do they want, a Christian fundamentalist emotional approach to the subject? Fine. But if you want a more objective approach, this is where to start.

Iceland advances several arguments through the course of this book. "First, views of poverty vary over time and place. What it meant to be poor in the early twentieth century is not the same today. Nor is the standard of what constitutes poverty in the United States the same as that in the developing world. Second, the persistence of poverty in the United States reflects more than just an aggregation of individual failings. Structural factors, such as the way we understand and define poverty, the inherent features of our economic system that produce income inequality, social inequities, and our policy responses to these problems shape current trends. Third, contrary to conventional wisdom, shifts in family structure have not been the most important factor explaining trends in American poverty rates in recent decades, though they were related to increasing child poverty rates in the 1970s and 1980s. Economic changes--such as economic growth and income inequality--have had the strongest association with trends in overall rates, regardless of how we measure poverty.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Held on December 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
John Iceland defines poverty through the use of methods used to measure it. He explains its causes, offers an explanation as to who suffers from it and why, as well as what can be done to reduce or eliminate poverty.

Poverty is economic, or income, deprivation resulting in one's inability to sustain oneself. Poverty has two primary measurements resulting in much controversy as to which is to be used by governmental institutions. Absolute poverty is measured by using a subsistence level of income as a line that when crossed under results in deprivation of the bare necessities to sustain life. Relative poverty is much more difficult to understand in that it is measured subjectively over time but also geographically. This form of poverty uses as it line of income a point at which one is required to meet if one is to be socially acceptable into one's group or community. There is a certain living standard one is expected to uphold depending on one's status group. I would call this "keeping up with the Jones". If one lives in a prominent community in which the norm is to have two BMW automobiles, a vacation home in the Hamptons, as well as hired workers to do the family's housework but one has only one car, a Chevrolet, no vacation home, and does one's own housework, then one would be viewed as economically deprived or poor. This is an extreme example but if one is viewing the community mentioned in the context of a very large community such as what we call the United States of America, then those who are without the many conveniences that the upper class are accustomed to are considered living in poverty. This is the case mainly as a result of consumerism and its extreme marketing campaign to motivate individuals to consume, consume, consume.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wesley Irvin on April 20, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Read this book before you tell yourself life is fair and everyone has the capacity to become whatever they want. It will show you why even Bill Gates believes the luck of the draw has much to do with privilage when it comes to succeeding against poverty. BEST of all it maintains the fact that the poor need to struggle to survive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kelseyd on June 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My professor required the newest edition of this book, and I bought this version instead. This version is almost exactly the same because the tests were based on the new edition of the book and I got As on all 3 just from studying from my older version.
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