Minority Poverty Myths and Racial Stereotypes Debunked

In an election year a lot of numbers are thrown out on news media by pundits and analysts. It’s time to separate the fact from the fiction when it comes to minority financial numbers. I took a look at the latest Nutrition Assistance Program Report from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of the USDA as well as the United States Census and some other databases and debunked some myths.

Myth 1: Most recipients of federal assistance are black

The Truth:  35.7% of those benefitting from the  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and 43% of Medicaid recipients are white. Those are 2 of the largest public benefit programs.

Myth 2: People are in poverty because of their own laziness

The Truth: 56% of those who did not work in 2010 weren’t able to clock in due to illness, disability, retirement, or inability to find work. Simply put: it’s a ROUGH job market.

Myth 3: Entitlements = Handouts

The Truth: 39% of Americans paid for their benefits through payroll taxes taken out of their paychecks.

Myth 4: Minorities who get Social Security benefits do so because they are too lazy to work.

The Truth: 45% of all black beneficiaries and 58% of “other” beneficiaries (those who are neither black nor white) use the program for its survivor and disability benefits, not for its retirement benefits.

Myth 5: Beneficiaries of low-income public benefit programs do so out of laziness.

The Truth: 75% of American Households receiving food stamps have an elderly or disabled person or a child.

Sources: StateHealthFacts.Org, United States Census, National Assistance Program Report.

Find out more on SNAP at www.cbpp.org

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