Poverty around the world

North America

Authored by: Emily W. Kane

Routledge International Handbook of Poverty

Print publication date:  October  2019
Online publication date:  September  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367178666
eBook ISBN: 9780429058103
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores poverty in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Beginning with the extent of poverty in each nation, controversies surrounding its measurement, trends over time, and subgroup variations in poverty, the chapter then focuses on policy as it has developed within each nation. Scholars emphasize neoliberalism as a common approach underpinning poverty policy, but with variations based on the relevant histories and demographics of each nation. Those variations are considered in separate sections, which trace particularly central initiatives within each nation and focus especially on cash transfer programs, from the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in the United States to poverty-reduction strategies like Ontario Works in Canada and Opportunidades in Mexico. After tracing these initiatives within each nation, the chapter addresses themes evident in the literature on poverty across the three nations. Topics include ideologies and beliefs about the poor, and the active agency of people living in poverty, with examples of scholarship about all three nations addressed.

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