Poverty and Health

Topics: Minimum wage, Sociology, Health Pages: 5 (1876 words) Published: July 29, 2013
Throughout the assignment the author will focus on three aspects that can have a massive and detrimental impact on a person’s life. These aspects are: Unemployment, Child Poverty and Stress on an individual. Other effects of these aspects will be investigated throughout this case study such as addictions and malnutrition. I will research Dahlgren and Whiteheads social model to show the relationship between an individual, their surroundings and their health and wellbeing. When the author first started research for this essay they researched statistics on absolute poverty in general. Absolute poverty is where people’s basic needs are not being met such as food, housing, and clothes. (Giddens, 2001) Through research, the author was surprised to find that Child poverty is a major issue within the UK. “There are 3.6 million children living in poverty in the UK today. That’s 27 per cent of children, or more than one in four.” (cpag.org.uk, 2012) This influenced the author’s decision to focus on child poverty specifically as one of the main topics. One would assume that these children must be living in homes affected by unemployment, however, in the majority of these cases, at least one family member is employed, although sadly “work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of children growing up in poverty live in a household where at least one member works.”(cpag.org.uk, 2012) This raises this question; why are children living in poverty where one or more adult is working? What is their income being spent on, or is the price of living too high in the U.K for those on the minimum wage. The current minimum wage in the UK is £6.31 per hour. (Gov.uk, 2013) So if someone worked a 40 hour week that would give them a gross pay of £252.40 before deductions. They would also be entitled to child benefit, tax credits and a heating and housing benefit. “You get Child Benefit for each child you're responsible for - there are 2 rates: eldest child (£20.30 a week) and additional children (£13.40 a week), you can apply for Housing Benefit whether you’re unemployed or working” (Gov.uk, 2013) Poverty can be caused in households where a parent(s) income may be used to feed an addiction such as a gambling, smoking, drugs, or alcohol. In a scenario like this, even if state benefits or the minimum wage were increased, it still wouldn’t stop poverty, but it might make people’s addictions go from bad to worse if their financial situation improved. Children are at a higher risk of child abuse when living in a home where addictions are present. This abuse may be physical, emotional, sexual, or neglect. Children who run away from home are at risk of child prostitution. Adults and children are more likely to get sexually transmitted diseases/infections whilst living in poverty (Jama, 2007) People living in impoverished conditions can feel excluded from the social norm. An American sociologist Charles Murray believes that many are happy to sponge off the government rather than strive for personal success. (Giddens, 2001) “90% of the public believe parental addiction is the biggest factor in whether a child grows up in poverty”. (Rupert Oldham-Reid, 2013). This is worrying to think that the public have such a negative perception on people struggling in poverty. There is no evidence to prove such an opinion. This can make people in poverty feel isolated from society, this can affect their self-esteem, and it won’t help them get out of poverty. “Reducing poverty is not a matter of changing individual outlook, they claim but requires policy measures aimed at distributing income and resources more equally throughout society.” (Giddens, 2001) The Schemata theory is evident in this case, when people think of people living in poverty. They don’t actually know them personally, yet they have an automatic cognition to think poverty equals addictions. “Schemas are cognitive structures, they take the form of...
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