Who Are the Poor?

Poverty hits some groups harder than others. Table 19-4 shows the incidence of poverty in different groups for 1998.While 12.7 percent of the total population was counted as falling below the 1998 poverty line, the rate among black and Hispanic families was 212 times that of whites.

Why are so many female-headed and minority families poor? What is the role of discrimination Experienced observers insist that blatant racial or gender discrimination in which firms simply pay minorities or women less is vanishing today.Yet the relative poverty of women and blacks is increasing. How can we reconcile these two apparently contradictory trends? The major factor at work is the increasing gap between earnings of highly educated and skilled workers and those of unskilled and less-educated workers. Over the last 25 years, the wage differential between these two groups has grown sharply, as we will see in the next section. The growing wage gap
has hit minority groups particularly hard.