Children Living in Poverty


Children Living inPoverty

Children poverty has severe consequences on the various facets of thesociety. According to the Secretary of State Parliament of GreatBritain: Department for Work and Pensions (2012), in the UK, between2005 and 2009, the government spent $ 300 billion in tax credits andworking-age welfare. Additionally, in 2009/10, the UK governmentspent $90 billion in payments to welfare programs. Besides, poorchildren tend to have low skills as a result of the low educationalattainment, and this affects their productivity once they grow up. As such, children poverty has severe effects on the individuals,communities, families, and taxpayers

Statistics of children living in poverty

Out of the 2.2 billion children in the world, half of them live inpoverty (Shah, 2013). A large proportion of children living inpoverty come from developing countries, particularly the sub-SaharanAfrica. In the United Kingdom, between 2005 and 2006, 2.8 millionchildren were from low-income families. The prevalence of povertyamong children in the United Kingdom differs by region: 38% of thoseaffected by this problem come from inner London while 28% are fromthe North East (Secretary of State Parliament of Great Britain:Department for Work and Pensions, 2012). In terms of race, 58% ofBangladeshi or Pakistanis children were from low-income families incomparison to only 19% from the dominant whites (Secretary of StateParliament of Great Britain: Department for Work and Pensions, 2012). As far as age is concerned, 24% of children aged 5years and below,22% (5-10 years), 19% (11-15 years), and 17 % (16-18 years) live inpoverty in the UK (The Secretary of State Parliament of GreatBritain: Department for Work and Pensions, 2012). In 2014, 21% orapproximately 15.3 million children below the age of 18 came fromfamilies living in abject poverty in the United States (NationalCenter for Education Statistics, 2016). In the U.S, the proportion ofchildren from low-income families differed from one race to another.Among the African American in the U.S, 38% of children lived inpoverty followed by Native Americans (35%), Hispanics (32%), PacificIslanders (27%), and 22% of mixed races (National Center forEducation Statistics, 2016). On the other hand, the proportion ofpoor children among the White and Asian population was 12%. In termsof age, approximately 10.7 million school-aged children (5-17 years)and 4.6 million of those under five years lived in poverty in 2014(National Center for Education Statistics, 2016).

It is evident that poverty is prevalent across the world and this isthe major reason I chose to explore about children brought up by poorfamilies. It is also clear that there exists a wide gap between thedifferent races when it comes to the prevalence of poverty amongchildren. As such, I wanted to know how the racial differences seenin the data regarding the prevalence of poverty manifest themselvesin the various realms of the society. For instance, I was interestedin exploring the racial difference in cognitive abilities, theincidence of certain diseases that affect mostly children as well asjuvenile delinquency. Lastly, I am enthusiastic about children, and Iam always ready to learn more about this vulnerable group of oursociety.

According to Minujin,Delamonica, Davidziuk, and Gonzalez, (2014), children poverty entailsthe deprivation of basic needs experienced by young people. Itdiffers from the poverty facing adults in terms of causes andconsequence. As compared to adults, even a short period of starvationexperienced by children may have severe long-terms mental, growth,and development consequences. Indicators of poverty among childreninclude: accessibility and quality of food, housing, healthcare, andfood, among others. According to the UNICEF, children who can betermed as living in poverty are those who experience deprivation ofemotional, spiritual and material resources they need to develop,thrive, achieve their full potential, and participate as equalmembers of the society (Minujin et al., 2014).

Effects of poverty (Short-term and long-term)

Poor children experience behavioral and emotional problems morefrequently compared to their counterparts from rich families. Assuch, as I interact with children particularly from low-incomefamilies, I am not always quick to judge their behaviors. Instead, Ialways seek to unearth the possible causes of certain peculiarbehaviors among my acquaintances. Engleand Black (2011) group emotional outcomes of being poorinto two groups: internalizing behaviors and externalizingbehaviors. Internalizing behaviors include depression, socialwithdrawal symptoms, depression, and anxiety. On the other hand,externalizing behaviors entails aggression, acting out, and fighting.Data concerning the emotional outcomes of children come from teachersand parents’ reports. The effect of poverty on the psychologicaloutcomes of children differs depending on the duration one`s parentshave been poor. According toEngle and Black (2011), short-term poverty entails achild being raised by poor parents for at least one in every fouryears. On the other hand, persistent poverty involves childrenlacking necessities for a period of between four and eight months(Engle &ampBlack, 2011).

Poverty is one of the risk factors that increase the likelihood ofchildren engaging in delinquent acts. According to the Secretary ofState Parliament of Great Britain: Department for Work and Pensions(2012), in the UK, 24% of teenagers from families that occupy thebottom socioeconomic quantile showed signs of truancy at age 14 yearscompared to 8% of the counterparts from the top quantile. This is whyI chose to pursue a course that will equip me with knowledge on howto prevent children, particularly those from the minority races frombecoming delinquent. Some of the consequences of poverty predisposechildren to delinquency. For instance, some school-related factorssuch as poor performance and poor attitude toward education increasea child’s chance of becoming a delinquent. Besides, children withlow educational aspirations, low commitments to school, and lowacademic performance face increased risk of becoming criminals(Birckhead, 2012). According to Birckhead (2012), empirical dataconfirms that children born to poor parents constantly experience alifetime of negative consequence. Children of color suffer moresevere consequences compared to their white counterparts.

The effects of poverty on learning

According to Engleand Black (2011), poor children are 1.3 times morelikely to have learning disabilities. The severity of the learningdisabilities depends on the duration a child has been exposed topoverty. The most commonly used method for measuring cognitiveability is the standardized IQ test. According toEngle and Black (2011), one studies found that poorchildren scored 6 to 13 points lower on the various IQ test comparedto their wealthier counterparts. This means that educators such asmyself should not always rely on IQ test results to gauge students’performance. For myself, I always seek to know what a child is goodat and help him/her achieve the best he/she can. Apart from cognitivedevelopment, poverty in children is closely linked to schoolachievement outcomes (Murnane, 2007). First, poor children fail toattend schools for various reasons such as the lack of food.According to Shah (2013), children living in poverty lose 443 millionschool days annually as a result of water-related illness. It is forthis reason that I seek to assess each student`s case differentlywhenever I am faced with problems such as absenteeism. Besides,children from low-income families have higher chances of dropping outof school, especially as a result of lack of school fees or in orderto find employment to enable them to provide for their youngersiblings (Murnane, 2007).

Health risks ofliving in poverty

Poverty has severe effects on children’s physical health, birthoutcomes, school achievement, cognitive ability, and behavioral andemotional outcomes. In terms of physical health, poor childrenexperience diminished physical health as a demonstrated by severalindicators. Physical health effects of poverty on children includebirth defects, stunted growth, lack of proper medical attention,malnutrition, asthma, and susceptibility to diseases. Shah (2013)also reports that between 27% and 28% of all children in thedeveloping nations are either underweight or experiencing stuntedgrowths . On the other hand, low birth weights, as well as infantmortality, are indicators that a child has poor physical health.There is a close correlation between low birth weight and subsequentpoor physical health and emotional and cognitive problems that canstart when the child is born through childhood until a person reachesadolescence. The short-term effect of low birth weight, which isassociated with poverty is infant mortality. Children who weigh lessthan 2,500 at the time of birth are more likely to die before theyare 28-days old (Cureton 2011). As I interact with parents, I alwaysseek to educate them on how, despite not having much to spend onfood, they can eat a balanced diet to avert the problem of the highprevalence of high infant mortality as well as the conditions relatedto low birth weights.

Besides, according to Shah (2013), 2.2 million die each year as aresult of not being immunized. I have developed a habit of alwaysasking parents, whether they have taken their children forimmunization service. Shah (2013) adds that 10.6 million children diebefore they attain the age of 5 years. The major cause of thesedeaths is the lack of adequate sanitation and access to safe drinkingwater. For example, diarrhea claims 1.8 million children every year(Shah, 2013). African children account for over 80% of malariacasualties globally (Shah, 2013). Prenatal complications may resultin a wide array of health problems that have detrimental effects on achild’s health (Birckhead, 2012). For example, Cureton (2011)reports that as early as age two years, black children experiencemuch higher prevalence of asthma compared to their whitecounterparts. High asthma prevalence complicates the lives of poorchildren as the majority of them cannot afford proper treatment(Cureton, 2011).

Programs to help children living in poverty

The most effective tool for eradicating poverty among children isincreasing education opportunities available to the minority races.Research shows that the majority of children who live in abjectpoverty are born to families where both the parents are uneducated. Education is one of the factors that increase a person`s ability tosecure a job. Besides, research shows that the level of salaries thatemployees get is directly related to the level of education attained.For instance, persons with college degrees earn more salariescompared to their counterparts with only a high school diploma(Murnane, 2007). Educated parents are more likely to raise healthychildren since they are aware of the factors that cause malnutrition,prenatal complications and other diseases that target the young onessuch as asthma, malaria, and diarrhea. Strategies should also beadopted to solve racial discrimination in education and workopportunities. The key stakeholders in the education sector need tocreate awareness about the prevalent disparities regarding access toeducation.

A substantial proportion of children born to poor parents lives insubstandard housing. These types of environment, increase thechildren`s chances of contracting various diseases such as diarrhea,asthma, and malaria. If the government can do something to increasethe housing subsidies, children from low-income families will be ableto live longer as they will be saved from diseases associated withthe uninhabitable housing. Apart from expanding the housingsubsidies, there is a need for the stakeholders to create subsidizedjobs. Increasing publicly funded subsidized jobs is an effective wayof providing income as well as building skills among the unemployedand the underemployed parents (Treasury,2008). One of my professional goals is to ensure thatI do everything I can to reduce the high prevalence of preventablediseases. As such, I always seek to create awareness among the poorparents about the ways of preventing their children from diseasessuch as malaria and diarrhea.

The effect of increasing tax credits on earned income is thatconsumers will have more money to spend on their families. If thegovernment adopts a tax reduction policy, particularly on those inthe lower income blanket, this group will have more money to takecare of their families. This means that the children of parents whowill benefit from this policy, the majority of whom are poor, willhave an opportunity to access better heath care, food, education, andhousing. Apart from increasing the income tax credit, the governmentcan raise the minimum wage. Currently, a parent with two childrenand who work full-time at the current minimum wage of $7.5 an hourearns $ 4700 below the poverty line (Treasury,2008). A large percentage of poor children live withparents who, although they work full time end up with little money tocater for the various needs of their families such as housing,education, health, and food.

Ending Children Poverty

Besides ensuring that parents have enough money to cater for theirfamilies, adults dealing with children should adopt the followingstrategies. For example, educators should lobby the government toincrease the allocation for the supplemental nutritional assistanceprogram. This will go a long way in ensuring that children haveenough food to eat averting the various conditions related tomalnutrition (Treasury,2008). This step will also reduce infant mortality aswell as the cases of children dropping out of schools due to lack offood. All adults working with children should fight againstdiscrimination that is prevalent in the distribution of educationopportunities. Besides, every person should know that children,poverty affects everyone regardless of whether they are poor or rich.Ending child poverty is the duty of every individual. As such, everyadult dealing with children should ensure that he/she remit his/hertaxes to the government to enable it to address the various causes ofpoverty. Besides, in their individual capacities, educators maydonate food and other basic needs to children from poor backgrounds.

Conclusion and Summary

In conclusion, child poverty is pervasive, particularly in thedeveloping countries. However, even developed countries still sufferfrom high children poverty. This condition is a social problemaffecting the individuals, taxpayers, communities, and families. Theindividual effects of poverty on children include low birth weights,high mortality rate, and high prevalence of diseases such as diarrheaand asthma. The society bears the effects of the high poverty ratesamong children through paying taxes to programs aimed at addressingthe problem. Besides, poor children are more likely to be delinquent,and this contributes the high crime rates experience in most cities.The economy is affected as poor people lack skills which result indecreased productivity.


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