Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 The State of Poverty in the United States and Western Europe: Five Theoretical Approaches Seeking to Explain the Variance Chapter 3 The Challenge to America: The State of Poor Relief in Western Europe and the United States Chapter 4 The Historical Experience as a Partial Explanation Chapter 5 Attitudes, Beliefs, and Values as an Explanation of the Variance Chapter 6 Political Institutions as Explanations for the Contrast in Anti-Poverty Legislation in Western Europe and the United States Chapter 7 The Role of Political Elites and the Elite System in Explaining Poverty Relief in the United States and Western Europe Chapter 8 The Business Elite's Political Role in the United States Compared to Europe Chapter 9 Historical Studies of Poverty in the United States, The Netherlands, Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, and Sweden Chapter 10 Early American History of Poverty Chapter 11 A History of Poverty in Western Europe: The Dutch Experience Chapter 12 The Early French and Belgian History of Poverty to 1900 Chapter 13 The English Historical Experience with Poverty Chapter 14 Sweden and Germany's Historical Experience with Poverty Chapter 15 Final Observations: The Twentieth Century and Today Chapter 16 The Finalization of Social Reform and Anti-Poverty Legislation in the United States and Western Europe in the 20th Century Chapter 17 Conclusion: What Are the Prospects?
Poor America describes the sharp contrast in the extent of poverty between the United States and six Western European countries. While 36 million Americans live below the poverty line, a much smaller percent of Western Europeans struggle with the same problem. Samuel J. Eldersveld seeks to discover why this variance exists by exploring various theories. To explain the larger percentage of American poor, he tackles the history of poverty in each of the featured countries along with examining the 'system theory' approach, the role of values, the political elite character in the United States compared to Europe, and the differential robes of the business elites in these countries. Poor America follows the issue of poverty through the present day, discussing proposals and prospects for reform in poverty relief in the United States.