Despite what some may think, poverty is a growing problem in America (Wood 1). Yes, real live, actual poverty. Poverty can be defined as “the minimum annual income necessary for an adequate standard of living” (Wienclaw 1). Poverty is not just something that people living in third world countries experience. Poverty is harmful and hard to handle not only for one person, but also for their whole family. Children are affected by poverty, too, believe it or not. Children raised in poverty-filled families will experience several short-term effects as well as long-term effects.
One short-term effect that poverty has on children is sicknesses. Poverty can impact a household in the quality of the water the family drinks, the quality of the plumbing system they use daily, and the quality of the building that is protecting them from harsh weather conditions outside (Wienclaw 3). All of these factors play a role in the health of a child. Children are more susceptible than adults to getting sicknesses from unhealthy living conditions (Wienclaw 3). Poverty has a direct effect on a child’s health.
When children who experienced poverty young in life become adolescents, there will be some long-term effects that they will face. According to one study, poverty is the main cause of many problems teens encounter, including crime among adolescents: “Poverty is so strongly connected to nearly everything adults think is wrong with "kids today"—murder, violent crime, unintended pregnancy, AIDS, smoking, dropping out of school—that it dwarfs every other factor” (Males 1). Because the rates of poverty are constantly increasing, so are the rates of juvenile crime. Teens who were raised in poverty-filled families believe that they can take care of themselves. If they need something, they will do whatever is necessary to get it- which, in most cases, means that they will steal it. If they cannot afford to buy it, most of the time that does not mean they will not get it. Also, if they think that they need money, they will go to extreme measures to get it, including selling drugs and other illegal substances. Teens who experienced poverty as children will do anything necessary to have money and the things that they want because their parents did not have the means to get the things for them. Poverty and teen crime go hand-in-hand.
If Children grow up in poverty-filled families, they may not get as many opportunities to increase their levels of education, and that could negatively affect their futures. Although grade school is required for children, and they can attend public school and not have to pay much money, the same cannot be said about attending college. College costs money, and in most cases, a lot of it. Nowadays, to have a decent paying job, a college education is required, and that is common sense. Therefore, it may be more difficult for poverty effected teens to attend college and have a more successful life in the future.
Although most effects of poverty among children are negative, many children that are raised in families who deal with poverty have an increased drive to be successful as they become adults. Poverty effects how people see the world, and it effects how people see their lives. If a child is raised in a poverty-filled family as a child, when they become adults, their drive to have a better future will be increased. They will want to have a better life for them and their families than they had as a child. Being affected by poverty can make a person strive for a successful life as an adult.
While there is one positive effect poverty has on children, the negative definitely outweighs the positive. Poverty among children needs to be addressed. Children should not have to deal with those problems so early in life.
Males, Mike. "The Root Cause of Juvenile Crime and Violence Is Poverty." Juvenile Crime. Ed. Auriana Ojeda. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2002. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Leave the Kids Alone: Poverty Is Their Real Problem." In These Times (12 June 2000). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 6 Mar. 2015. Wienclaw, Ruth A. "Poverty & Children." Poverty & Children -- Research Starters Sociology (2015): 1-5. Research Starters - Sociology. Web. 6 Mar. 2015. Wood, James R. "Poverty in America." Business Horizons 25.4 (1982): 85. Business