Exploring Society By The Numbers

Poverty and Young Adults

Joan Morris, University of Central Florida


This exercise focuses on the effects of various social characteristics on poverty. It is based on the sociological assumption that patterns exist in relation to poverty in society. There is a wide range of sociological research and media coverage on poverty. It is generally accepted that women are more likely to be poor than men, the better educated are less likely to be poor than the poorly educated, and blacks are more likely to be poor than others. The stereotypical media image of poverty is the inner-city ghetto. Thus there is the widespread assumption that urban people are more likely to be poor than those who live in other types of places.

Learning Goals

  • Diagram a causal relationship between an independent variable and a dependant variable.
  • Diagram a causal relationship between four independent variables and a dependant variable.
  • Construct a crosstabulation to investigate the relationship between an independent variable and a dependant variable.
  • Explain the relationship between gender, race/ethnicity, educational level, type of geographic area and poverty among young adults.

Context for Use

This exercise was developed for use in a general sociology course. Students will hypothesize about relationships between race, education, geographic area, and poverty and analyze data sets to determine draw conclusions about variable relationships.

Description and Teaching Materials

Exercises: PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 94kB Mar25 09)
Exercises: DOC (Microsoft Word 59kB Mar25 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity uses a customized data set made from the 1990 Census and guides students through data manipulation using WebCHIP software found at DataCounts!. To open WebCHIP with the dataset for the activity, please see instructions and links in the exercise documents under teaching materials. For more information on how to use WebCHIP, see the How To section on DataCounts!


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References and Resources

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