Children in Poverty
A child’s mind is like clay. It’s very impressionable and can be molded into anything. They are molded by their first impressions of the world. If their first impression is negative, their personality and the way they think takes on that negative trait. The same is true for positive first impressions. Because of this, children are most affected in a negative way by poverty.
Millions of children everywhere don’t have enough food, shelter or money to survive. As a result, more than 9 million children die every year from hunger. (Poverty) Although it has been around for as long as time, poverty is even more common now than ever. In the U.S. alone, more than 46 million people are living below the poverty line. (Poor Kids) This makes America one of the highest poverty rates in the developed world. (Poor Kids) Poverty doesn’t have to be such a big problem; the U.S. produces enough waste to supply the needs of mostly all of the people in poverty.
Americans waste or cause to be wasted nearly 1 million pounds of materials per person every year. This figure includes 3.5 billion
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Pounds of carpet land filled, 3.3 trillion pounds of CO2 gas emitted into the atmosphere, 19 billion pounds of polystyrene peanuts, 28 billion pounds of food discarded, 360 billion pounds of organic and inorganic chemicals used for manufacturing, and 3.7 trillion pounds of construction debris. (How Much Do Americans Throw Away?)
If all this waste was conserved, millions of Americans would have the materials necessary to sustain a healthy life without poverty. Unfortunately for now, that is just a fantasy.
Children in poverty are aware of the fact they aren’t like the other kids that have money. PBS did a documentary on children in poverty and one of the little kids they interviewed was a 9-year-old named Brittney Smith. She said “Sometimes I see people walk into their own homes and I wish I had my own Home like those people.” (Poor Kids) This is a real life example of how the kids feel. No child should ever have to wish for a house to stay in that they can call their own. They are thrust into learning how to survive in the world on their own when they are very young. This affects their behavior and stunts their growth. Children in poverty also have greater health risks than average. A recent study showed, “More than 6 million children affected by poverty die each year from a sickness that could have been prevented” (Poverty) Most of those health risks are
3/5 Theodore 3 due to poor diet. These days’ vegetables and fruits are a lot more expensive and low-income families can’t always afford it. When PBS interviewed a little girl whose family was affected by poverty, she told them, “Instead of fruits and vegetables, we eat pizzas and stuff because that’s all we can afford right now.” (Frontline) Unlike the average child, these kids actually want to eat healthy and eating healthy is a privilege to them. It is a privilege that most kids take for granted. Obesity among children in poverty is more common than one may expect, it is ironic because since they don’t have much food that would be skinny to the bone but that isn’t always the case at all. According to HBO’s documentary on poverty and obesity, the poorer the area, the more obese the people are. The health risks list for eating these foods is enormous, death is more likely at a younger age.
Physical heath isn’t the only risk that children in poverty face. They experience mental development and social problems as well. Children in poverty have a higher risk of displaying behavior and emotional problems, such as disobedience, impulsiveness, and difficulty getting along with others. (Moore) One reason for this is because they don’t have a stable life and they experience frequent moves and changes. This builds trust issues towards everyone they come into contact with. This distrust can last
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their whole lives and it makes keeping friends very difficult. Low-income and unsafe neighborhoods can expose children involved in poverty to violence. This can cause many more psychological problems; it provides more a risk for children to grow up to be delinquents or drop outs.
Poor children have difficulty with cognitive skills, especially during early childhood. This affects their education and academic skills in a negative way. Chronic stress is linked with poverty, even in children. Children’s concentration and memory may be impaired as a result of this chronic stress. The dropout rate of students living in low-income families is 8.7 percent compared to students in high-income families which are 2.0 percent. (Effects of Poverty and Hunger) Children in poverty are more likely to have ADHD and ADD which make it even more difficult for children to focus in school. They also have a greater rate of behavioral issues and acting out in school.
Overall, poverty takes a toll on everyone it encounters. It destroys lives, tears apart families, and shows no mercy. Children are very vulnerable and impressionable. They are more negatively affected by poverty than anyone else because of this. They are waiting for something miraculous to happen and save them from the mess of poverty. Will you be their miracle and save them?
Poverty and Obesity. HBO, 2012. Poverty and Obesity. Web. 9 Dec. 2012.
Poor Kids. Prod. Jason M. Breslow. Frontline, 2012. Film.
Child Trends. Kristin Anderson Moore, Apr. 2009. Web. 9 Dec. 2012. http://www.childtrends.org/files/
Effects of Poverty and Hunger. APA, 2012. Web. 9 Dec. 2012.
The Effects of Poverty on Children's Health. Dalton C. Conley, 10 Dec. 1997.
Web. 7 Dec. 2012. <https://files.nyu.edu/dc66/public/pdf/
Facts about Children and Poverty. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2012.
How Much Do Americans Throw Away. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2012. http://students.arch.utah.edu/courses/Arch4011/Recycling%20Facts1.pdf
Poverty. Compassion, n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2012. <http://www.compassion.com/