Poverty and Children in the United States

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Abstract

The United States is the richest nation, yet millions of Americans live below the poverty line and millions more struggle every month. The children in society today living in poverty is increasing daily. The majority of these children are from single-parent homes where sometimes parents are not working or have become disabled and therefore cannot work. Children who are raised in foster care and leave as adults do not have strong relationship ties most of the time and are at an increased risk for experiencing poverty, early parenthood and homelessness (American School Board Journal, 2007). The reason for most of the poverty in the United States is due to low family incomes.

Poverty is a disease. A disease that clogs our government system as it is something there is no cure for, at least not yet. Poverty is declining, but the reasons for families still living in poverty continue to grow. When there are no jobs or no opportunities, or losing one's job due to illness or debilitating injury, a family can find themselves in the lap of poverty without realizing how they got into the situation.

What is poverty? Poverty can be explained to be lacking the resources to meet the basic needs for healthy living. By not having insufficient income to provide food, shelter and clothing needed to preserve health for oneself or one's family. What is meant by income here, besides the wage of a job, are food stamps, school lunches and public housing. Poverty is visible to most of us when we see a homeless person on the street asking for money or food. Or on television when we see the poor countries and the plight of the children among the communities where there is a shortage of food.

Poverty has many faces; it changes from place and place and can be described in many ways. Poverty is not having freedom and leaves one feeling powerless. People want to escape poverty and most cannot. How many children become victims to an illness brought about by drinking unclean water because they have no running water in their homes? Poverty is not just experienced by the poor; the rich feel its affect also. There needs to be adequate food, shelter, access to education and health care and protection from abuse for all our country's children currently living in poverty. The poverty line is an official income level that the government has set that is what the minimum person would need to live on. A family of four that consists of two adults and two children that bring in less than $20,000 per year as the net income is considered poor. This amount is far below what most individuals in American would think a family of four would need to bring in to live on. A family who lives in a poor rural area has greater risks of living in poverty. Being outside of a large city can be a large disadvantage. The resources are lower, there is isolation from others, the schools may not be as good in smaller neighborhoods and there is limited access to medical care (Lichter, 2007). There is also the issue of transportation. While someone who possibly may not have a vehicle therefore cannot get around to having to go to larger cities to get medical care that may not be offered in their communities. This can cause the person to become sicker, taking more time off work and possibly getting fired. When no money is coming in, how can one support themselves, let alone a family?

Living in poverty denies children certain rights while growing up. The right to a happy, healthy childhood free from stress and abuse, which happens in some circumstances. Children living in poverty can grow up malnourished and develop mental and physical problems related to this. Mothers who are malnourished and living in poverty give birth to under-weight babies whom many times have birth defects, other problems and possibly even die.

Children who do live in poverty that attend school can suffer poor attention span due to them feeling hungry, lonely and...
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