It is well known that US is one of the most powerful countries in the world. It has built rather strong economy and became the best example for any other country. Despite the overall positive tendency of social development, the U.S. continues to be a country with a full range of various social problems. Society is changing rapidly as a result of globalization processes. Social problems such as poverty, social exclusion and discrimination, mass drug abuse, inadequate healthcare services, street children and the elderly population growth – these problems are in the interest of US. For their solving it is required the development of public institutions and civic participation at the local level, and the ability of civil society to influence the social policies of the government. This paper explores three top social problems in the USA of today. It is focused on the poverty, racial problems and ethic conflicts and inadequate healthcare services.
Poverty is an economic condition that characterise an individual or a social group, when they can not meet the minimum requirements of a certain range, necessary for life things. Poverty is a relative concept and depends on the overall standard of living in the community. It is a concept that is closely related to social stratification. Inequality characterizes the uneven distribution of scarce resources among the society – money, power, prestige and education – between the different strata or layers of the population. Poverty – is the economic and social status of people with minimum amount of money, education, power and prestige. However, poverty is also a cultural phenomenon.
In the U.S.A. officially poor term is used for a person whose annual income does not exceed the “poverty line.” Poverty line is the marginal income that is required to meet the minimum needs of the person. In the USA its determination is based on the value of goods and services required to meet the most basic subsistence needs (officially, the poor person spends on him/herself, in average less than $ 1 a day) (Kornblum, 2010). Over a third part of poor people have income that is less than 50 percent of the amount determined as the “poverty line.” Now in the US the main part of the poorest people are women and children. In USA the poverty existence is the result of many factors, among which are: firstly it is economic reasons (decrease of incomes, high level of unemployment, increase of companies’ outsourcing, low wages, slowdown of economic processes, increase of consumption); than it is going social reasons (disability, increase of people of old age, child neglect); the third reason is demographic (single parent families, families with a high dependents, young and old with a weak position in the labor market); and the last reason but not the least is political one ( the gap regional relations and violation of the vertical of power, undeveloped sphere of government subsidies and the absence of the policy that can protect poor people, high rate of migration).
The second in top social problems of America is racial problems and ethical conflicts. Racism is a set of beliefs, which are based on the provisions of the mental and physical disparity of human races. Racism is a reactionary theory that justifies social inequality, exploitation, war, and people belonging to different races. Racism brings social nature of people to their biological, race, race randomly divided on the “higher” and “lower” and it can be the antecedent for the ethnic conflicts in future. Ethnic conflicts are extremely dangerous, as their effects can be devastating not only to the conflicting parties initially, but for the whole world. Modern ethnic conflict is of particular concern because of the growing number of refugees and displaced persons. In many cases, ethnic conflict develops into genocide.
One of the most pressing social problems of the United States, with its roots dating back to the deep past of the country, is a racial issue. Racial prejudice was evident in the United States in relation to the black population and the indigenous inhabitants of the supposedly “inferior”, “junk” category of people. Despite the U.S. Constitution proclaimed equality of American citizens, the United States continues to be a country of racial inequality and discrimination. Racial and ethnic groups are subjected to systematic discrimination in pay, education, many representatives of the social groups, who have retained their native language as a primary means of communication within the family and within their own ethnic group, acute problem of language discrimination.
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Another crucial social problem of modern USA is low level of healthcare services and their inadequacy. Recently, during the assessment of people’s quality of life all put forward their health. Despite the fact that in the XX century have been great advances in the control of many diseases, many diseases still continue to threaten the lives of people. The main problem of the USA is that it provides healthcare not for all people, but only for the strictly determine parts of the population. In America socialized and public healthcare systems are absent. This problem is rather crucial because of the costliness of the medicines and healthcare services and inability of poor people to pay for it. Only people who are employed and have rather high wage can get health insurance as the benefit from the company that they are working for, however self-employed and unemployed part of population can hardly pay for it because of its expensiveness. Therefore, only complex reform in the healthcare industry can deal with the arisen problem and change situation for better.
Today in the United States social inequality continuously increasing that pronounced more income gap between rich and poor sections of society. Despite the efforts to get rid of these measure social problems they do not disappear. Therefore, all Americans should arise these problems for the discussion and make government work on them in order to solve the social situation in the country.