Social Problems

Your paper should be roughly 1,000 words – three to four typed pages (12 point font). Please include a cover sheet with your name, class section, and the title of the writing assignment.


Paper #3: Poverty and Inequality

Choose one (1) of the following:

A. "Poverty & Affordable Housing in Texas"

For this summary-response paper you will investigate poverty and the availability of affordable housing in the state of Texas and programs aimed at reducing the extent to which it occurs. 

First, for an overview of the problem, download and read Texas Poverty 101.”

Second, go to Texas Demographics: Families and Children in Poverty and examine the data concerning poor children in Texas and their family backgrounds.

Third, visit the Housing Crisis Center of Dallas, which will describe their efforts to combat homelessness in the metroplex and Out of Reach, which will outline what is necessary to find affordable housing in Collin County. Download the full report and look at data for Texas (see pages 195 – 205) and, specifically, Collin County (p. 198)

Write a brief summary of what you have learned and discuss various steps that might be taken to reduce the extent to which the problem of poverty  and affordable housing exists in Texas.  


B. "Wealth Inequality in America"

For this summary-response paper you will discuss two videos, placing each one in its historical context. The first one, "America's Distribution of Wealth," presented in 1955 by Professor Clifton L. Ganus of Harding College, Searcy, Arkansas, purportedly demonstrates the widespread ownership of America's basic wealth and the equitable distribution of national income at that time. The second, "Wealth Inequality in America," summarizing the work of Michael Norton and Dan Ariely, professors at the business school of Harvard and Duke that shows that our perceptions of who has money and how much they have is quite skewed. Why are such different pictures presented of the distribution of wealth in the United States? Drawing upon the text chapter, web pages listed on the reading list, and class discussions, how would you account for the inequality that exists and what, if anything, can be done to reduce the extent to which such inequality exists?