Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)





Committee Director

David Selover

Committee Member

Christopher Colburn


Poverty is a global problem that affects not only the undeveloped states but also the most developed ones. This research paper will analyze this problem in depth, trying to summarize several definitions, several causes that can lead to an increase in the poverty rate, and policies implemented by the government in order to reduce the total number of poor people. The author analyzed the poverty rate in each state of the United States from 1990 to 2019 using a panel data analysis. She found out that California is the state with the highest value of poor people in the U.S. The independent variables analyzed in this paper are the unemployment rate, personal income, total number of residents, total number of violent crimes, and Gini coefficient.

At the end of our analysis, the author discovered that the total number of poor people is positively affected by population size, the total number of violent crimes, the Gini coefficient, and the unemployment rate (for relatively poor people only). In particular, the Gini coefficient has a standard error high, so it needs further studies. The last chapter will analyze the difference in poverty rate between the U.S. and Italy and possible causes that can explain the differences. The results show that the U.S. had a higher poverty rate than Italy from 1997 to 2019, and the author concludes with some suggestions to encourage further studies about the topic.


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