Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 201–222 | Cite as

Individual and structural explanations of poverty

  • Leonard Beeghley


This article illustrates the difference between individual and structural accounts of poverty in the U.S. Some of the correlates of poverty among individuals are job loss, low skills, female family head, discrimination against blacks and hispanics, family size, and age at marriage. The structural factors producing a high rate of poverty are the reproduction of the class system, macroeconomic policies, the vicious circle of poverty, the structure of the electoral process, the structure of the economy, institutionalized gender discrimination, and institutionalized ethnic discrimination. Thus, the variables accounting for each phenomenon are different. A theoretical rationale for the relationship between social structure and rates of events is presented, and similarities between the approach used here and research in other disciplines are noted.


Poverty Line Political Participation Class Structure Vicious Circle American Sociological Review 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonard Beeghley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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