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The Roots of Poverty in America

Spencer Platt
/
Getty Images

The United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet over 10 percent of people – nearly 40 million – live in poverty. It's something we see, say, if we live near a tent encampment. And it's also something we feel. More than a third of people in the U.S. say they're worried about being able to pay their rent or mortgage. Medical bills and layoffs can change a family's economic status almost overnight.

These issues are on the minds of Democrats and Republicans, city-dwellers and rural households. And in an election year, they're likely to be a major factor when people cast their votes for President.

In this episode, we talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning author and sociologist Matthew Desmond, whose book Poverty, By America, helps explain why poverty persists in the United States, how it's holding all of us back, and what it means to be a poverty abolitionist.


Matthew Desmond, sociologist and Pulitzer-prize winning author of Poverty, by America



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