Poverty Issue in Canada and US

PovertyIssue in Canada and US


PovertyIssue in Canada and US

Povertyhas become one of the social vices to face countries. This has inturn prompted different nations to adopt different strategies in themove to fight poverty among its people. Poverty is a complex issuewhich has neither definite cause nor a definite solution. Successfuleradication of this menace requires a set of interrelatedinterventions which are undertaken by the government working togetherwith the communities. With reference to the eradication of poverty,United States, and Canada are two diverse nations which havedifferent strategies towards the eradication of poverty. One of theissues related with poverty is homelessness, which is seen as anindication of levels of poverty (Foster &amp Wolfson, 2014). Theabove-mentioned nations have different measures to reduce the menaceof homelessness. This essay is an analysis of poverty issue in Canadaand the USA, with a comparison of the differences in policiesdeployed by each of the countries, with reference to the issue ofhomelessness.

Definitionand Introduction of Poverty

Despitereducing poverty becoming an issue of international concern, there isno yet an international consensus on the approach or guidelines formeasuring poverty. By simple definition, poverty is referred as thestate of deprivation, or the state of lacking the acceptable amountof possession. In the United States, poverty is measured by povertythreshold. However, different approaches have been used to definepoverty as well as different terms such as Absolute Poverty (lack ofthe necessary means to meet one`s basic needs i.e. food, shelter andclothing). This is also known as extreme poverty. This is, however,common in developing countries but has in one way or another affectedthe European nations as well. There is also Relative Poverty, whichis defined by poor income compared to standards of living. This typeof poverty various from one country to another, and is dependent onsocial context (Foster &amp Wolfson, 2014). With reference tohomelessness issue, this is referred as the condition of peopleexisting with no established dwelling or is unable to maintain asafe, regular, adequate and secure housing. In other words, it isreferred as lack of night time residence.

Debateson the issue in both the US and Canada

Theissue of homelessness dates back to the 1960s when the Canadianadministration referred to homelessness as people with no home,changing it from people with no family ties. Homelessness was relatedto poverty as 63% of people were found to be homeless due toinability to pay rent, while 36% were due to conflict and abuse.Other causes included rising housing cost which in turn made itpossible for low-income earners to afford homes. Poverty has beentermed as one of the major causes or factors behind the issue ofhomelessness. In order to tackle the homelessness menace, theCanadian government embarked on the home first model, this was apolicy was meant to enable both private and public organizations tobe able to implement the housing first programs (Foster &ampWolfson, 2014). The Homelessness Partnering Strategy was theinitiative to help people access cheap homes so as to cater forpeople under low income earning bracket. With reference to t Canadianadministration, the policy deployed has had its focus on eliminatingthe rate of poverty through the provision of cheaply accessed housingprojects to its people. According to Canadian administration, theargument is that, poverty is passed from one generation to the other,and in turn their main focus has been to break the trend. Thus,through the provision of relevant tools to break the chain(Mackinnon, 2013). Hence, in summary, the countries policy towardspoverty eradication has been focused on the provision of key tools tobreak the trend.

TheUnited States has on the other being more vibrant towards the fightagainst poverty. The country uses the ‘poverty threshold as itsmeasure of the poverty rate. The Americans have constituted into lawthe American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which entails broadmeasures by his government to curb the poverty menace among itspeople (Hoy et al, 2014). The country’s policy embarks on theprovision of the basic needs such as fighting hunger, prevention ofhomelessness, provision of energy efficient homes so that familiescan save on that. According to the American statistics regardingpoverty, the most affected people in poverty are women and childrenand in turn, the policy has been to provide for education and basicneeds. With reference to child poverty, it means children growing inenvirons lacking the merits of stable homes, quality schools, or evengood and consistent nutrition (Deaton et al, 2014). In the case ofadults who are in poverty, they are marred by inadequate educationand skills, hence limited pay/wages and job opportunities. Inrecognition of such challenges posed by poverty, the policy has beento curb the extent at which people are exposed to the factors, henceembarking on the provision of essential goods and services.

Regardingthe two cases, i.e. the Canadian and United States, their positionwith reference poverty policy varies with reference to their causesand how they plan to curb the menace among the people. One of themajor factors that determine their difference is the historicalaspects of every nation in terms of development, and economicaspects. In addition, in the United States the political culture isalso a major difference compared to the Canadian case. However, inboth cases, the participating institutions have an impact withreference to each of the nation’s policy (Raphael &amp Raphael,2011).

Comparingthe two approaches, there are both strengths and weaknesses that canbe derived from each. The approach adopted by the United States iswell formulated and documented within their constitution, and in turnit remains the mandate of the relevant parties to play their roleeffectively. This enables each and every administration in power tocontinue with the same policy. However, it would take the time tochange the policy, as it would mean changing the law defining theaspects in which the poverty menace is tackled.


Raphael,D., &amp Raphael, D. (2011).&nbspPovertyin Canada: Implications for health and quality of life.Toronto: Canadian Scholars` Press Inc.

Deaton,B. J., Hailu, G., &amp Zhou, X. (2014). Poverty in Canada: DoesManufacturing Matter?.&nbspGrowth&amp Change,&nbsp45(2),362-376

Hoy,M., Thompson, B., &amp Zheng, B. (2012). Empirical issues inlifetime poverty measurement.&nbspJournalOf Economic Inequality,&nbsp10(2),163-189.&nbsp

Mackinnon,S. (2013). The Politics of Poverty in Canada.&nbspSocialAlternatives,&nbsp32(1),19-23.

Foster,J., &amp Wolfson, M. (2014). Erratum to: Polarization and thedecline of the middle class: Canada and the U.S.&nbspJournalOf Economic Inequality,&nbsp12(3),435-437.