Syntopical Reading On Poverty (A Partial List)

I am extremely interested in learning more on poverty and its effects on our society and what are some solutions that seem to have promise. My wife and I have previously worked with homeless and through our church at a budget apartment complex if you could call it that. It was pretty dismal and the problems seemed somewhat insurmountable. It was very depressing working with them hoping to make progress in their lives. This is a partial list for our readers who may be interested in this subject. Please leave a comment if you have other titles that would be applicable.

(1) $2.00 A Day: Living On Almost Nothing In America (2015) Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer

I have finished reading this and it was an eye-opener in the daily struggles that people are going through to get by.

(2) Stuck In Place: Urban Neighborhoods And The End Of Progress Toward Racial Equality (2013) Patrick Sharkey

This includes a discussion of inheritance and how the poor inherit certain characteristics from their parents which can cause several generations of poor and disenfranchised.

(3) In The Shadow Of The Poorhouse: A Social History Of Welfare In America (1986) Michael Katz

The author discusses the history of welfare and the role of politics and how it has played out.

(4) Marked: Race, Crime, And Finding Work In An Era Of Mass Incarceration (2007) Devah Pager

This gives the reader a much clearer understanding of how incarceration affects people in finding work and making progress in their lives.

(5) Work Over Welfare: The Inside Story Of The 1996 Welfare Reform Law (2006) Ron Haskins

This book looks at the politics of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act and the effects it has had on the poor.

(6) Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980 (1984) Charles Murray

Charles Murray examines social policy from the 1950’s to the 1980’s and argues that these overly ambitious programs actually made people in worse condition.

(7) It’s Not Like I’m Poor: How Working Families Make Ends Meet In A Post-Welfare World (2015) Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Kathryn Edin, Laura Tach, and Jennifer Sykes

The authors discuss the earned income tax credit with over one hundred families and its effects.

(8) American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, And A Nation’s Drive To End Welfare (2004) Jason DeParle

Deparle relates the story of three women who are cousins and the paths that they take in moving toward the American Dream from the depths of welfare.

(9) The Most Southern Place On Earth: The Mississippi Delta And The Roots Of Regional Identity (1994) James C. Cobb

A classic look at the Mississippi Delta and its history of rich farmland and extreme poverty in the poorest counties, most likely in the entire United States.

(10) Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare And Low-Wage Work (1997) Kathryn Edin and Laura Lein

From 1997, the authors point out that low-wage single mothers are worse off than single mothers on welfare. It also shows that neither these low wages or welfare are enough to sustain their families.


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