Census Shows More People Living in Poverty
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia, AUG. 28, 2008 ( Zenit.org ).- The president of Catholic Charities USA said it is “unacceptable” that there are 37.3 million poor people in a nation as prosperous as the United States.
Father Larry Snyder said this in response to statistics released Tuesday by the United States Census Bureau, which revealed that 800,000 more people are living in poverty in the United States this year.
“It is unacceptable that in a nation that is as prosperous as ours that 37.3 million people, including 13.3 million children, continue to live in poverty,” Father Snyder said. “At 12.5%, the poverty rate indicates that reducing poverty is not a priority for this nation.”
The priest said his organization and its member agencies serve nearly 8 million needy people a year.
“The poverty rate is not just another economic statistic,” he said. “This unacceptable figure represents the millions of families we see each and every day who are struggling just to make ends meet.”
Father Snyder affirmed that the downturn in the U.S. economy has worsened the situation.
“Across our nation, Catholic Charities agencies are seeing more and more people having to choose between putting food on the table, paying their utility bills, or making their rent or mortgage payments,” he said. “Needing help with food, rent, clothing and prescriptions are all symptoms of much larger problems facing the poor and vulnerable in America, such as low wages and the lack of affordable housing and health care.”
The charity organization has launched a campaign to cut the poverty rate in half by 2020. They are urging Americans to demand that their political representatives make poverty a priority.
“In this election year, candidates for public office — especially our presidential candidates — must move from rhetoric to action and propose comprehensive plans to address the needs of more than 37 million people living in poverty in the United States over the next decade,” Father Synder said. “We call on all Americans to ask their candidates, ‘If elected, what will you do to address poverty?’”