Saturday, August 3, 2013

Poverty in the USA

Here is an article that discusses how many people in the USA are suffering because of the bad economy. There are many good vocabulary words in this article.

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

gloomy - pessimistic, depressed, not looking forward to any positive change (not optimistic)

4 in 5 or 4 out of 5 - this is 80%. ---> 4/5

poverty - a term for being poor, or for not having much money

a shift - a change

reliance - if you rely on something, you need this thing for your survival. 

welfare - money from the government

deteriorating - if something is deteriorating, it is getting worse.

elusive - hard to find, hard to catch.  An elusive American dream means it is hard for people in the USA, at this time, to be able to reach their goals.

survey data - a survey is when a number of people are questioned about a topic.

exclusive to - that means only The Associated Press was able to get this data.

a trend - the way things are going or developing.

renew - start again

a ladder -

to reverse - to make something the opposite of what it is

affirmative action - this is a policy the government uses to make sure that people of color (blacks and Latinos) receive extra help.  For instance, if the government has a contract with a company, the government may say: "You will lose this contract if you do not hire x number of blacks and Latinos." Affirmative means 'positive.'

a barrier - something that divides one area from another, or in this case one group of people from another.

an impediment - an obstacle, something that stops a person from moving forward.

hardship - difficulty, adversity

declining coal region - work and profits are dropping in this coal region.

a stand - this is a little structure from which people can sell things.

disability checks - if the government feels that a person has a physical or psychological problem that stops him/her from working, the government will give this person 'disability' payments. A check is a piece of paper that can be exchanged for money.

poverty - being extremely poor.

disparities - differences

pervasive - all over the place.  If something is pervasive, you can find it easily.

economic insecurity - fear due to the economy

engulfing - this is a poor/bad word choice for this article. To engulf something is to, basically, eat something.

a gauge - a measurement tool.

periodic - occasional

in decline - dropping, decreasing

life expectancy - how long a person expects to live.

alienation - the feeling that you are all alone and that nobody will help you

lingering - continuing...if something lingers, it won't disappear.

the recession - the slowed-down economy

predominant - the most occurring.  Basically he is saying that because there are more white people than Latino or black people, there are more poor whites than blacks or Latinos.

destitute - extremely poor

plentiful - a lot

to speculate on - to think about

a produce stand - a place where fruits and vegetables can be sold (produce = fruits and vegetables)

$10 to our name - this is slang. To have $10 to your name means that you just have $10.  That's all the money you have.

insecure - the feeling that you are not safe

mainstream /fringe - if something is mainstream, it is happening to average people. If something is fringe, it is happening to a few people who are not part of the majority.

surpassed - went beyond

biannual - every two years

working class - when sociologists talk about social class in America, they usually refer to the upper class, middle class, lower class, working class and under class.  Working class people are very poor.  They are working but not making much.

plight - problems

to urge - to encourage

infrastructure - everything a society needs to survive: roads, highways, electricity, water systems, bridges etc.


  1. Well I do greatly appreciate your blogs and effort to educate others. Running this blog helps others like myself tremendously and it's all thanks to you! I like how you break everything down to the smallest detail. Plus you give out quizzes and puzzles pertaining to that article. I'm sure i'm not the only one who's very grateful for your blog and willingness to help others like myself.
    It is tough to be in my shoes right now as i'm struggling to get a job and my bank account is depleting. At times I feel down in the dumps but I'm trying to stay positive.
    Since I came to the US at around 14 my English has been struggling at first but i'm getting the hang of it. Although I'd like to polish it more as I go along.
    I would definitely write you an e-mail as I do want to establish a strong rapport as one of your buddies. Thanks Daniel!

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Hi - I'm still trying to figure out how to use this reply section. I accidentally deleted some stuff. In any case, I never heard from you via e-mail. Please feel free to respond to me directly through email instead of out here. Take care.

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