Learn more about specific causes in United States of America that you can get involved in.
EnvironmentThe largest environmental concerns in the United States are pollutants from industry, agriculture, and transportation. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees and enforces laws and regulations protecting the environment. Various legislations have improved the quality of air and water sources in the United States, but sources of pollution contaminating local resources persist.1 Reports suggest that pollutants from industry and transportation result in $100 billion in increased health costs per year.2 Natural disasters and storms cause damage to infrastructure and many deaths each year, and United States’ Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is the official government branch dedicated to disaster prevention, awareness, and relief work.3 After a disaster hits, FEMA acts in accordance within its National Disaster Recovery Framework to deploy professional emergency Read More responders and community response teams.3 Show Less
FamilyFamily life has been changing in the United States in the last few decades, and the number of children living with two parents has decreased to 69 percent.1 In 2015, same-sex marriage became legalized in the United States nationwide.2 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will become victims of domestic abuse during their lifetime, which constitutes millions of total victims.3 Currently, 40–50 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce.4
Human RightsThe United States legally ensures a wide range of human rights for its citizens. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights guarantee the fundamental liberties.1 These provisions have not been held consistent across all people groups at all points in American history, but modern Americans enjoy these rights regardless of race, class, and gender.1 The media is free to report as they wish, freedom of religion is upheld, and Americans have the right to protest and assemble. Major human rights issues involve immigration policies, drug policy, and criminal justice; with these issues, members of lower socioeconomic status are disproportionately affected. For example, minorities are more likely to be arrested for drug possession even though all ethnicities use drugs at the same rate and the prison Read More system allows for the death penalty and harsh conditions even for minors.1 Show Less
EducationEducation is universally available and compulsory for ages 5-17.1 In 2016, high school graduation rates reached an all-time high of 83 percent of students graduating2 Problems in the education system are frequently rooted in poverty. Public education receives its funding from local, state, and federal governments via taxpayer dollars, which often means that the resources available and quality of education are dependent on the wealth of the surrounding community.3 A high number of students go on to receive vocational training or higher education degrees, but for those entering these programs, only 59% complete their degrees in six years. The causes for this are related to rising cost of education and a lack of academic preparation.3
PovertyThe United States has done much to limit and combat poverty within its borders. Government initiatives such as welfare, food stamps, and Social Security have done much to mitigate the negative influences of poverty and have kept as many as 40 million additional Americans out of poverty.1 It is estimated that 14 percent of Americans live in poverty.2 Poverty is disproportionately higher in black and Hispanic communities.2 According to 2015 data, only 9 percent of white citizens lived in poverty, whereas 24 percent of black citizens lived in poverty.3
ReligionAccording to the United States Constitution, citizens are free to practice the religion of their choice.1 Christianity is the largest religion in the U.S., with Judaism and Islam also being widely practiced.1 The separation of church and state is a fundamental principle contained within the government of the United States.2 Regardless, religion tends to have a considerable amount of influence in politics, as most presidents have professed some affiliation with Christianity. Some religious institutions encourage their believers to vote a particular way, and groups lobby the government for certain policies on behalf of their religious beliefs.2 While the political sphere has traditionally been dominated by Christians, other minority groups are beginning to get elected more frequently. In 2017, Ilhan Omar, a former refugee, became the Read More first elected female Muslim legislator.3 Show Less
Clean WaterThe United States enjoys some of the safest drinking water in the world.1 This has been achieved through significant efforts to improve legislation and public awareness surrounding water cleanliness. There are a number of technologies to purify water used in the United States, and a typical water treatment plant uses a series of steps that attracts pollutants out of the water using chemicals, filtration, and disinfection through the use of chlorine to purify water.1 However, many water systems in the United States are aging, which is leading to serious problems in tap water nationwide. In 2015 in Flint, Michigan, the entire water system was deemed undrinkable due to high amounts of lead in the water.2
EconomyThe United States possesses one of the world’s most powerful economies. It is market-oriented for the public, and the government usually procures their necessary goods from the private sector.1 Lower income American families are facing economic issues like income stagnation and quickly rising medical costs.1 There are a number of agencies, associations, nonprofits, and NGOs dedicated to promoting economic development and job growth. The federal government organization that is dedicated to job creation and economic growth is the Economic Development Administration (EDA), which equips regional communities with the necessary means to compete in a globally competitive market.2
GovernmentThe United States government is a representative democracy with local, state, and federal levels of government.1 The U.S. has a multi–party system, but the Democratic and Republican parties are the two most influential of the political parties. Polls have found that citizens, regardless of party identification, believe the most pressing problem in the U.S. today is the government and its policies.2 In recent years, there has been a lack of trust in the government and many allegations of corruption and collusion with foreign governments, particularly following the 2017 election.3 Despite these drawbacks, Americans enjoy a strong rule of law, many civil liberties, and an effective electoral system.
HealthThe leading causes of death in the United States today are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke.1 Other concerns include childhood obesity, diabetes, and communicable diseases. Minority groups experience a disproportionate burden of preventable disease, death, and disability, but the U.S. still has one of the highest life expectancies in the world at 79.1 Medical services are extremely expensive without health insurance, and the number of uninsured Americans hit an all time low of 30 million at the end of 2016.2 However, the healthcare system in the United States is undergoing unprecedented change with the 2017 reversal of the controversial Affordable Care Act which previously expanded health coverage, but put economic burden on the middle class.2
Children16 million children in the United States live in poverty. Consequences of poverty include inadequate food supply, poor educational opportunities, and limited opportunities for upward mobility. African-American and Latino children disproportionately experience child poverty, and 1 in 3 children of color in the U.S. are born into impoverished households.1 Child abuse cases in the United States are found in every socioeconomic class, ethnic division, and religion. It is estimated that more than four children die every day as a result of child abuse.2 However, over 78 percent of child abuse cases take the form of neglect. Physical abuse comprises roughly 18 percent of all child abuse cases and sexual abuse cases comprise over 9 percent of cases.2 Child marriage is seen as an emerging problem Read More in the United States, and between 2000 and 2010, nearly 250,000 young girls were married to men mostly over the age of 18.3 Show Less
AnimalsThe United States is home to a wide array of animals ranging from buffalo, dolphins, wolverines, and alligators. The range of animals is due to the diverse ecosystems found around the country like the desert, arctic, mountain range regions, prairies, and two different tropical coastlines.1 Rare animals like loggerhead turtles and polar bears are now on the endangered species list because of increased human populations in their habitat and climate change destroying their environments.1
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