Like many other countries, the United States of America has a poverty problem. The term “poverty” is used to describe those who do not have much money or material goods when compared to others in society. Of course, many different ways to describe poverty exist, and many people do not nec- essarily experience poverty in the same way.

Individuals who live in absolute poverty are not able to afford the basic needs: food, shelter, clothing, and the like. Those who live in relative poverty can usually afford to pay something toward their basic needs, but can afford little beyond that. The United States utilizes social programs to assist individuals living in poverty. Social programs are geared toward reducing poverty, improving opportunities for those living with low incomes, and to provide health care and medical services to those who might not otherwise be able to afford them. These programs are often referred to by the term “welfare.” Examples include Temporary Assis- tance for Needy Families (TANF), which provides a month- ly stipend that poor families can use to pay for necessi- ties, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program


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