Child Poverty and the United States

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Child Poverty and The United States
Melissa Sandusky
University of Phoenix

Child poverty can be found in every corner of the world. In any country there are children living within the devastating effects of poverty. Child poverty has become a worldwide epidemic, and the impacts it has on children are countless. This paper will discuss child poverty in the United States and how it has impacted our poor children in this country. In the research I found four major ways that poverty affects these United States children. They are physical health, mental well-being, education, and environment which I will describe in further detail. People often view the United Sates as the land of opportunity and plenty. We see television ads asking for monetary donations for children in other countries who are living in poverty. We have countless organizations that work to help combat poverty throughout the world. This country may be looked upon as a land of plenty by other countries, but the United States also has problems of its own. One of those problems is child poverty. As of 2006, there were 39.7 million United States citizens living in poverty, and single mothers and women had the poorest households in that same year (Hildebrant and Stevens, 2009). In 2006 a single parent of a household of three with a yearly income of approximately $16,000 was considered living at the poverty line (Lee, 2009). One third of all the homeless people in the United States are entire families with children, and the numbers are continuing to grow (Macionis, 2006). The statistics of child poverty in the United States are heartbreaking. There are five million poor children under the age of six years old in this country (Korbin, 1992). It has been estimated that over 17 percent of children, adolescents, and teenagers in the United States are poor. Studies have also shown that 36 percent of the impoverished people in the United States are children (Macionis, 2006). One-third of Hispanic households have children that live in poverty. African-Americans have an increased risk of their children living in poverty. Nearly 50 percent of African-American children live in poverty. Over the last 40 years, the percentage of poverty in the United States' elderly has dropped, but the children living in poverty has remained the same at 20 percent (Korbin, 1992). We know that the first several years of a child's life are some of the most important developmentally. Physical health is so important in young children, but the impoverished children of the United States are at serious risk of health problems. According to Hildebrant and Stevens, the most common physical health conditions found in poor children are "severe asthma, seizures, diabetes, and lead poisoning" (2009). Families on welfare are almost two times at risk for having a child with a physical or mental problems. The children with parents that use assistive programs such as welfare or Medicaid show that 25 percent have one or more health problems that are chronic. One study conducted showed that single mothers of poor children were unemployed due to their own or their children's health problems (Hildebrandt & Stevens, 2009). One can assume that poor children with chronically ill mothers are particularly at risk, and mothers with sick children may not have the resources to care for them properly. This goes to show that children in poor families have an increased risk of poor health and developmental delays (Hildebrandt & Stevens, 2009). Children born into poverty during their first year of life are more likely to die from neglect, accidents, or from violence (Macionis, 2006). Girls who grow up in poverty are more likely to conceive a baby before graduating from high school. Then many of these young mothers go on welfare. Boys living in poverty are more likely to have a baby without being married. These boys are also more likely to get involved in criminal activity, and...
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