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Social problems and social issues are part of basically every society; these problems occur partly due to the fact that people share the environment they live in, and as a result, conflicts arise in their daily lives. It can also be argued that social problems affect people that live together in a given society but at varying intensities, since a problem can’t influence people in equal measure. In case of the United States, there are many social challenges affecting the citizens that states and central governments have to address respectively. These problems affect both the rich and the poor, depending on the nature and intensity of the problem itself.
Some of the predominant social problems include domestic violence, pollution, urban decay, racism, sexism, unemployment and the growing gap between the rich and the poor among others. The United States enjoys enormous economic and political success and, hence, is a supremely powerful country; the success associated with it, however, is not being helpful when it comes to addressing the social issues affecting its citizens. The problem of unequal distribution of wealth is present in the United States as is the case for many other developed continues, where the rich accumulate wealth at the expense of the poor. The American economy provides opportunities to those individuals who are able to engage in the wealth creation activities.
The capitalist nature of the economy stipulates that individuals have to acquire as much wealth as they can; the poor are unable to raise the required capital for investment, and this means that their wealth Creation abilities are minimal. Capitalism has ensured that the gap between the rich and the poor enlarges, where the rich become even richer while the poor become poorer. The social implication of this issue is that the living standards of the poor fall, since their purchasing power is minimal and can only afford cheap commodities. Unequal distribution of wealth ensures the rise of social classes, as in the case of the United States where there is a vital social difference between the two groups.
Americans are subject to poverty of a given magnitude despite the advanced level of economic arrangement. It is estimated that around 13-17% of the American population lives below the federal poverty line. The government analyzes poverty basing on the relative poverty phenomenon; and this report indicates that the rate at which poverty is increasing is alarming, thus calling for quick corrective measures. Poverty is one of the worst societal problems in the lives of human beings, because it makes life quite unbearable in that the purchasing power is limited, hence denying people access to basic requirements like food, clothing and shelter which are extremely essential in life of any individual.
Many scholars consisting of sociologists and even government officials argue that the poverty situation in the United States is mostly understated in that the statics given try to reflect a society the poverty concerns of which are minimal. This argument is based on the information that there are many households in the United states which are living in actual poverty, as compared to those living through the poverty threshold; it is estimated that around 30% of Americans experience a lot of problems when it comes to addressing their daily needs and the statistics by various agencies are quite unreliable.
B. Criminology, Drug Abuse and Domestic Violence
Crime reports in the United States are continuously updated; this information is usually published by the Federal Bureau of investigation. The bureau still notes that today’s America’s crime rate is not different from the one observed in 1968 despite the massive reforms that the government and other stakeholders have put in place in order to curb this social problem. The likelihood of committing a crime or falling victim to crime depends on several factors that include demographic features and the location. Many parts of the country experience these problems at any given time despite the reforms.
Crime remains to be one of the key social issues that challenge the harmony of the American citizens, because it affects them either directly or indirectly depending on the prevailing conditions. Drug and substance abuse is a monumental challenge in every states. Various state governments have set up laws to discourage the use of drugs, especially among the youths, but statistics indicate that the opposite is true and there is increased use of drugs among the youths, as well as women.
Globalization has led to cheap and easy access to information, making it easier for the drug users to locate where drugs can be obtained and use them. Drug abuse costs the public kitty a lot of money in terms of fighting it and providing rehabilitation services to victims. Domestic violence is another challenge that many Americans are facing today; women and children are the immediate victims of this problem. Researchers tried to find a link between drug abuse and domestic violence, but the hard part of the study is to clearly determine which aspect precedes the other. Many families are broken and disintegrated, because one of the partners reaches a time when he or she cannot withstand the violence; this is contributing to the rampant cases of divorce and separation that are witnessed in the United States today.
Racism continues to be an issue of serious concern in the United States; despite the continuous efforts made by the government and the anti-racism campaigns, many people, especially those of African-American descent, are still facing it rough when it comes to their interactions with their white counterparts. This discrimination based on the race tends to deny African-Americans equal chances in the job and academic opportunities due to the perception that they cannot be as unimpeachable as their white counterparts.
D. Illegal immigration
Illegal immigration is a serious social problem in the United States; every year, thousands of illegal immigrants come to the United States and stay in the country illegally. These immigrants tend to compete with the legal citizens in maters to do with jobs, health care and wages. These immigrants increase the demand for the housing facilities, making it difficult for the Americans, especially the poor, to afford decent housing due to increased prices brought about by increased demand. Wage structures are disrupted in the sense that the immigrants increase the supply of labor which, in return, gives the employers an opportunity to decrease the wage rates; illegal immigrants also disrupt the health care services in the sense that the quality of the services drops due to increased population.
America is witnessing a state of increasing cost of living where the rate of inflation is continuously increasing, thus limiting the purchasing power of the citizens. The inflation makes the cost of living increase rapidly, since a lot of money is required to enable someone to access his or her basic requirements. The minimum wage is not increasing proportionately with the increase in inflation rates, thus making people unable to meet their daily expenses. It is observed that the working population makes a lot of money and, consequently, spends a lot of money, thus saving remarkably little; the United States is viewed as high income country which has the lowest saving rate.
E. Health care and Access to Education
Health issues are not given the required priority in the United States, because the government does not avail an adequate health care to all citizens. There is a lack of public health care system, since only the employed are issued with health insurance as a form of employee benefits. Unemployed and self-employed are supposed to pay on their own, which is quite expensive. Unequal educational funding is an emerging issue of social concern; the government usually gives priority to the families bearing a large number of children and disregards the families with fewer children. This can also be observed by looking at the number of children who are dropping out of schools (Solley et al, 2005).
F. Urban decay
Urban decay is a social problem that is rocking the American youth, especially those who spend most of their time in the urban setting; modernization and globalization are taking over the world; and the United States is bearing the burden of globalization in the sense that the youths are embracing the rampant change and are extremely receptive to emerging lifestyles. The youths tend to copy any idea brought to their attention, and from the sociological point of view, this is some sort of decay, where the youths are disregarding their traditional ways of life in favor of the upcoming trends.
A society consists of people who are entitled to various social benefits originating from the government and other humanitarian agencies. The Americans, despite the economic and political superiority of the United States, still face quite a number of social problems, which have to be addressed in order to rise the living standards. Some of these problems are inherited from the ancient setting, issues like racism date back to the time of the slave trade. Poverty is embedded in the failure of the economy to guarantee the citizens a decent living, while the issue of unequal distribution of wealth is derived from the American capitalist economic setting where every man is the master of his own fate.
Discrimination leads to the emergency of social classes where people live as dictated by their economic potential. Issues like urban decay and illegal immigration are all associated with modernization and globalization that are witnessed in the modern world. America, as a country, has to do a lot of work when it comes to addressing the social issues, because its society is particularly essential in determining the prestige and well being of the country; issues affecting the well being of the citizens should be addressed with a high degree of professionalism and wisdom.