Poverty Simulator

Marketplace on NPR had a piece on a poverty simulator class for social workers in the San Diego. They host a Wealth and Poverty Desk, and have done a number of segments on what it is to be poor in our country. We hear things like “food stamps” and “Head Start,” but for those of us who don’t need these programs, it’s difficult to understand what choices are involved. For those on tight budgets, each money decision comes with consequences.

To get a taste, visit Marketplace’s Poverty Simulator. You can try managing a family of four living on $1900 a month. You can choose a car, or public transportation, select from a number of bills you wish to pay, and you can pay for child care, or health insurance. If you want to try to get ahead, the program gives you opportunities to attend a public college or online for-profit college courses. But it’s evident that the money runs out quick, and that educational opportunities, even the normal bills, soon seem out of reach.

Marketplace notes that a true Poverty Simulator activity is much more complicated. Participants soon get fired because they are late when they take public transportation. Just when participants think they are doing okay, reality sets in. They have their hours cut. They get ill.

We learn that safety net is something that not everybody gets to enjoy.

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.