Poverty as a Public Health Issue: Poverty since the Kerner Commission Report of 1968
This paper reviews trends in poverty since the late 1960s. Poverty is as prevalent now as it was then. A good deal about the nature of poverty and our efforts to deal with it, however, has changed. The paper has three major themes. First, we note that urban poverty is no longer a predominantly black issue; the composition of the urban poor has changed considerably since the late 1960s. Second, poverty outside the central city continues to be a problem and should not be ignored. Third, we argue that the current approach to poverty that emphasizes personal responsibility is clearly ineffective and should be replaced with a focus on poverty as a public health issue. Viewing poverty as a public health issue points to the crucial role of both government and individuals in efforts to overcome it.
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