Wednesday, 05 August 2015 20:30

As Global Poverty Decreases, China Takes the Lead

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Michael Omidi discusses PEW research that shows a decline in poverty over the past decade.

From 2001 to 2011, nearly 700 million people stepped out from poverty, though many still were barely scraping by. This rise always came with an increase in the global middle class. All of this is from recent PEW research.

According to the research, those considered poor are people living on $2.00 or less a day. The global population in 2001 living in poverty was 29%. That declined to 15% in 2011. While those considered low income, living on $2 to $10 a day, increased from 50% to 56%.

The middle class was classified as people living on $10 to $20 a day, which was 5 times the poverty line used in the study. This of course is within the poverty line of the US, which is living on $15.77 a day for a 4 person household. Researchers feel the $10 threshold globally begins to insulate those from falling back into poverty, based on findings in Latin America. Where in Mexico, Chile and Peru people only have a 10% likeliness of falling into poverty if their per capita incomes is $10.00 a day.

China's growth stood out remarkably. The middle income grew from 3% in 2001 to 15% in 2011. A total of 203 million people passed to the middle income level of $10 a day in that time. China, which accounts for 20% of the world's population, accounted for one-in-two additions to the global middle income population. Far superior than most other countries in Asian and throughout the world. The greater population of Asia combined accounted for the largest growth of middle income compared to other continents.

Only 16% of the world's population lived at the high level of the income scale. Up only 2% from 2001. These were largely people from advanced economies. In the US, median daily income per capita was $56 dollars a day. A total of 88% of the American population lived off of more than $20 a day.

It shows that some progress is being made worldwide. The UN recently announced an initiative to try to eradicate global poverty over the next 15 years. If they are able to accomplish that, it will be a huge success for humanity. The more we are able to create a dialogue on poverty and brain storm solutions, the quicker we can reduce the affects and create a more sustainable future for humanity as a whole.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

Michael Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty a nonprofit that advocates of the elimination of poverty throughout the world.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 17:18

Have You Experienced Your Year of Poverty Yet?

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Dr. Michael Omidi discusses the problem of income inequality in the U.S.

According to the last U.S. Census, 45.3 million Americans are officially impoverished. However, research suggests that this number may be somewhat misleading.

Mark Rank, social welfare professor at Washington University, and Thomas Hirschl, development sociology professor at Cornell, recently published a long-term study conducted from 1968 to 2011 which focuses on poverty. Their research has revealed that between the ages of 25 and 60, three out of five Americans will live at least one full year in poverty. That’s not even the most shocking part, either: researchers go on to say that 24.9 percent of the population will experience more than five years of poverty, and 42.1 percent will experience extreme poverty.

Rank also suggests that his and Hirschl’s research “indicate[s] that across the American life course there is a large amount of income volatility.” Out of 27 countries that are considered “high income,” the U.S. ranks 27th in median wealth per adult. We also rank 4th on the scale of severe income inequality in the world, according to World Bank statistics.

Rank claimed that in existing research on the subject, there has been a problematic lack of emphasis on relative poverty rather than absolute poverty. He defines relative poverty as a measure of depravation, whereas most would define poverty from a needs-based standard. For example, someone suffering from absolute poverty does not have enough money to cover basic needs in order to survive. Relative poverty, however, is when someone is poor in the context of those around them.

Current statistics (with the exception of this study) use absolute standards. Many argue that this severely underestimates the amount of people actually living in poverty, as it places impoverished Americans on the same scale as impoverished citizens of third-world countries. And when one considers factors such as the extremely high cost of living in many U.S. cities, it becomes even clearer that income inequality is one of the strongest reasons for growing poverty rates.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

Dr. Michael Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty, a nonprofit that advocates to change poverty in America and around the world.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015 20:39

Kids Brains Hurt by Poverty

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Dr. Michael Omidi discusses new research that highlights the true damage poverty causes a child's brain.

Poverty has been widely associated with lower academic performance for children. The longer a child lives in poverty, often the more they fall behind with an academic deficit. A study published on Monday by JAMA Pediatrics wanted to see if there was a correlation between poverty and lower academic performance because of atypical patterns of structural brain development. The results are startling.

The researchers studied magnetic resonance imaging scans of developing children and adolescents age 4 to 22 years of age. In total, they looked at 829 images. These tests included all socioeconomic data and neuroimaging data. Collection of the data occurred from 2001 to 2007. Recruiting was held at 6 data sites across the U.S. and participants were assessed for any factors that may adversely impact brain development. One quarter of the sample reported to be living 200% under the federal poverty line.

The researchers found that poverty was tied to structural differences in several areas of the brain that account for academic performance. For some, the difference in gray matter in the brain was a difference of 8 to 10%. These differences accounted for the children's academic difficulties.

The researchers concluded that the effect of poverty on learning was mediated by the differences in the structures of the children's brains. They suggested for those living 150% below the federal poverty line, extra resources should be targeted during early childhood to help remediate the early childhood environment. For a family of four, the federal poverty line is earning an income below $24,000.

This research shows that those living in poverty have large gaps to overcome that are structural in the brain. If they aren't given the proper resources, they will most likely have a difficulty advancing academically and into a higher earning career later in life. These children must be targeted to ensure they get additional resources need to advance in life. If not, poverty will continue to be perpetual in nature, and remain an ongoing problem.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

Dr. Michael Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty, a nonprofit that advocates to change poverty in America and around the world.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015 17:57

20 Percent of US Children Living in Poverty

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Dr. Michael Omidi discusses recent PEW research that analyzes the rate of child poverty in America.

According to the PEW Research Center, a total of 20% of children in America were living in poverty in 2013. That is roughly 14.7 million children. This number is down from 16.3 million children in 2010, which represented a rate of 22% of American children. Unfortunately, these numbers are still too high and unevenly distributed between different racial backgrounds.

Asian children had the lowest number who were living in poverty in the US according to the research. They had half a million or so children living in poverty. The data was pulled from US Census' “Income and Poverty in the United States.”

For the first time since the census began, white and black children had near equal numbers of children living in poverty. There are roughly 4.1 million black children living in poverty and 4.3 million white children living in poverty. This comes out to be about 2 out of every 5 black children who are living in poverty.

Out of all demographics living in poverty, children are sadly the highest group living in poverty. This is largely in part because they are unable to fend for themselves, and require care from a parent or guardian. Children are considered to be those 18 years of age and younger.

The population fairing worst is the children in the Hispanic community. In total, 5.3 million Hispanic children were living in poverty in 2013. The Hispanic community has seen a rise in child poverty over the past decade.

It is saddening to see that nearly a quarter of American children have to endure the hardships of poverty. They are helpless and forced to live in less desirable circumstances where some of their basic necessities aren't being met. We must do more as a country for our nation’s children. Through supporting charitable organizations, volunteering and reaching out to your elected officials, you can try to make a greater impact in order to allow these children a brighter future.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

Dr. Michael Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty, a nonprofit that advocates for the elimination of poverty throughout the US and around the world.
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 00:00

Poverty Rates in American School Districts

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Dr. Michael Omidi discusses a new map which highlights the poverty rates in every school district throughout America.

It has been commonly known that where a child lives, greatly impacts their educational experience. Now a new map reveals the rate of poverty in a given school district throughout the United States. Today, we'll review the map and discuss the implications it has.

The map titled, “Dividing Lines: School District Borders in the Unites States,” was complied by edbuild. It shows the more than 13,000 school districts throughout the US. Districts are color coded based on the percentage of poverty within it.

What's shocking is that some of our nation's school districts have over 40% of their students living below the poverty line. These are districts coded in dark red. The map also discusses how schools are zoned and how more affluent neighborhoods have an advantage since much of the funding raised for public schools comes from property taxes.

Some of the schools highlighted show how some schools were purposefully zoned to keep socioeconomic classes divided. One such is that of Spencer-Sharpless School District in Ohio which was originally drawn in 1948. By 1960 the area was heavily underfunded and many school districts refused to join. By 1980 all schools within the Spencer-Sharpless boundaries were formerly closed.

Since the great recession as the map points out, areas in concentrated poverty have doubled. In total, 495 school districts are living in deep poverty. That means over 40% or more of their population is living under the poverty line. With all this information, then what is the repercussions?

Many of these schools will be underfunded and thus have less resources for things like books, extracurriculars and other vital programs for a child's develop. This means that these students won't be only economically disadvantaged but most likely academically disadvantaged. Without going on to higher education, these students will most likely perpetuate the poverty they grew up in.

Is there an easy solution? The answer is no. Much has to be done to reform these failing districts in order to potentially bring these students towards an equal education as those living in more affluent areas. It is up to our policy makers to make the tough decisions to reform these schools to help the future generations of America.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

Dr. Michael Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty a nonprofit that works to reduce the impact of poverty in America and throughout the world.

Wednesday, 01 July 2015 22:08

Education: The Key to Eliminating Poverty

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Dr. Michael Omidi is a co-founder of several charities, including No More Poverty. Today he discusses why we should care less about test scores and more about the tools necessary for success.

The state of education in the U.S. is disappointing, to say the least. The statistics are dismal: 40% of children who live in impoverished communities aren’t prepared for primary schooling, and later on are more likely to skip or leave school altogether in order to find work or care for family members. The current high school graduation rate brings us all the way down to #22 out of 27 industrialized nations. Countless studies have shown us that education is a necessary means to break the cycle of poverty. But here’s the catch: poverty also determines quality and duration of education. And a good education is almost unattainable for children living in poverty. So why does the U.S. continue to brush this issue aside, and why has this been happening for decades?

The problem lies with the inordinate emphasis placed on test scores, which some blame on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind. Public schools must show decent standardized testing results in order to receive funding from the Department of Education. As a result, the focus remains not on the children, but instead on a one-sized-fits-all style of testing that does not adequately measure intelligence by any stretch of the imagination. This has only proved to be a recipe for disaster, with teachers becoming more demoralized and even cynical as they struggle to balance federal demands with the desire to provide their students with an enriching education. Another contributing factor is that school aid continues to be distributed unequally between districts in relation to their comparative financial needs.

In order for children to become well-rounded adults, it is imperative for them to learn the interpersonal skills and coping mechanisms that will prove most valuable in every aspect of their lives. Providing children with ways to deal with stress and social demands-- skills that they may not have learned at home-- is proven to improve behavior, increase the ability to be independent, and lead to empowerment. The solution cannot be found in cold, hard numbers. It’s more about helping our students become rational, competent, and healthy in body and mind.

Bill Milliken, founder of non-profit Communities In Schools, captures this idea eloquently: “it is relationships, not programs, that change children. A great program simply creates the environment for healthy relationships to form between adults and children. Young people thrive when adults care about them on a one-to one level, and when they have a sense of belonging to a caring community.” It’s time to stop thinking of our students as numbers, and start caring about the future they could have as educated young men and women.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

Michael Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty, a nonprofit organization that works to alleviate poverty throughout the world.

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Julian Omidi discusses a report by UNICEF which shows millions of children are being left behind in poverty.

Tuesday, UNICEF released a report showing the failing global efforts to help children living in poverty. These results should be alarming to anyone who cares about the impact of global poverty and the well-being of children. Today, let’s look at the data from the report and how it children are being left behind. According to the report, the world's poorest children are twice as likely to die prior to their fifth birthday. What's worse is the rate at which children are dying, within a few days of their birth. These statistics should be startling.

Now, there has been some progress on the poverty front. From 1990 to today, poverty has reduced from 1.9 billion to 1 billion. Of these, 47% of people living in poverty are under the age of 18. Meaning, nearly half of those living in poverty today are children.

The severity of the quality of care is heavily dependent on the country. In India, nearly 60% of people living in poverty live on less than $2.00 a day! That's the price of a small cup of coffee in America. The agency warns that by 2030, nearly 68 million children under the age of five could die. What's more, 119 will be malnourished. This doesn't even account for disease caused by poor living conditions.

This report makes it clear that children are at jeopardy. Maternal mortality rates are down by 45% showing that mothers are less likely to die, but their children are still at risk. More needs to be done on a global level in order to help these children in need.

You can help by working with charitable organizations that help children in need. No More Poverty works to educate people about the global poverty problem while working with other charitable organizations that help people in poverty. Only through action can the problem be solved.

Julian Omidi,

Julian Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty, a nonprofit that works to stop poverty throughout the world.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015 16:52

Poverty's Impact on Women and Children

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Julian Omidi, co-founder of No More Poverty, discusses the impact poverty has on women and children throughout America.

Often when poverty is discussed in the media, the emphasis is on national statistics. Contributors discuss the federal poverty line and the national average. What is often left out are the individuals who are most heavily impacted by poverty, women and children. Recently, Save the Children released their 2015 State of the World's Mothers Report, which focuses on the impact of rapid urbanization on the world's poorest women.

The report focused on the relative health and well-being of young women and children throughout the world. In overall performance, the US slipped to number 33 on the list of 179 countries surveyed, even though we are one of the wealthiest countries in the global economy. What's more alarming is the number of infant deaths that occur in our individual cities.

Of the world's richest capitals, our nation's own capital Washington DC was found to have the highest rate of infant mortality. In Washington, 6.6 babies die per 1,000 births. What's worse is that America also has a high maternal death rate. One in 1,800 women face potential maternal death. This is significantly higher than other countries.

The capital isn't the only city that faces these statistics. In New York, 4.6 out of every 1,000 live births are said to end in death. In specific areas of New York, like the Bronx which is the poorest community, there is an infant death rate of 5.7 to every 1,000 live births. Infant mortality rates expand further than at birth, it includes up to the first year of life. Some of these statistics are influenced by factors like the amount of urbanization and industrialization that could be unhealthy for a newborn child.

It is clear from these figures and the report that America has much to improve when it comes to the health of mothers and children who are living in poverty. Compared to other developed nations, we are slipping. Yet, there is much criticism towards the discussion of poverty within the social dialogue. On the conservative side, there are many people who advocate against anti-poverty measures like national health care and a higher minimum wage.

We must band together and cross the aisle in Washington if we want true reform. It is the only way to make America a stronger nation as a whole. The inability to do so will lead to more death and suffering, which shouldn't be tolerated.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty, a nonprofit that aims to reduce poverty in America.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015 19:16

Poverty Should be Priority in 2016 Elections

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In today's entry, Michael Omidi discusses why poverty should be a key talking point in the 2016 elections.

Already this year we are seeing politicians announce their candidacy for the upcoming 2016 Presidential elections. Most notably was the announcement by Democrat Hilary Clinton. During these political figures' campaigns they'll create key talking points which they feel are the important issues impacting America. They will put emphasis on how their policies will be different while offering a solution. Today, I'll discuss why poverty should be a key talking point in the 2016 presidential elections.

Poverty Impacts American Families

Poverty tears apart the foundation of the American family. Often times families who live in poverty work multiple low-wage jobs. This takes away the parent from the child. Without guidance, the child is more likely to perform poorly in school. Families with low-income jobs are often left to make hard choices on nutrition. Utilizing government food subsidy programs like SNAP, families often are guided to foods that are fast and convenient instead of healthy and well rounded. This puts the children at risk of child obesity, which could lead to medical problems later in life.

According to census.gov, 1 out of every 5 children in the US receive some form of food subsidy. The 2013 census found that 45.6 million people lived in poverty. The highest age demographic living in poverty were people under the age of 18. This means a large percent of our children are disadvantaged. They will historically have less opportunity and live shorter lives due to medical issues.

Poverty Impact the American Public

Since poverty rates are still fairly high, this means more families are forced to use government programs which are heavily financed by the American public. Food and housing subsidies are a few of the type of programs provided to those living in poverty. These are costly to fund and it is put on to the American people.

One way to help reduce these numbers is to push for a raise in the federal minimum wage. Los Angeles recently pioneered this push by having their city's minimum wage raised to $15 an hour. This was to help encourage a boost in the standard of living for those with lower paying jobs.

Action Must Be Taken in 2016

Politicians must address the issue of poverty during the 2016 elections. It is unacceptable that a developed nation like America still has families living in poverty. It will be interesting to see politician's stances and potential plans to help combat this awful socio-economic condition.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

Michael Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty, a nonprofit organization that works to alleviate poverty throughout the world.

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