POVERTY, UNEMPLOYMENT, AND MALNUTRITION in the DC Metro Area
Data extracted from: Data USA, National Center for Children in Poverty, Capital Area Food Bank, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Despite being a wealthy area, large economic disparities persist in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area. Individuals from low-income groups—such as minorities, immigrants, refugees, victims of domestic violence, returning citizens, and veterans—are faced with challenges in rising out of poverty and feeding their families.
Both in this region and nationwide, Hispanics and African Americans face the highest rates of unemployment, nearly double that of White and Asian workers. As a result, 30-37% of black children and 18-21% of Hispanic children live in poor families in Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Low-income individuals face challenges in finding and keeping good jobs. These good jobs are ones that can provide them with a stable source of income, opportunities for growth and advancement, and a safe environment in which to work.
- Financial, emotional, and other forms of instability pose challenges to consistently attending work and keeping a job
- Low English language skills make it difficult to complete job applications, follow instructions at work, and communicate with coworkers and supervisors.
- Though many educational programs exist, their high cost is a barrier to low-income individuals hoping to learn skills and obtain certifications
- Many available jobs do not offer any opportunities for growth, impeding individuals from developing more advanced skills, accessing better wages and benefits, and experiencing a sense of fulfillment
Inability to access good jobs produces many negative side effects. Low-income families often battle hunger and malnutrition due to their financial instability.
This challenge is further deepened by the fact that many individuals have unhealthy eating habits, which they also pass onto their children. Moreover, healthier food options oftentimes is unaffordable for these families because of its high price tag.