Effects of Poverty on Children

Effects of Poverty on Children's Health


         Poverty effects children in many ways. One way that it effects them in a very significant way is of the effects poverty has on children’s health. Poverty has a negative influence children’s health as they develop. Children in poverty have a greater risk of injury, higher risk for asthma, and have scored drastically lower on developmental tests.

         Greg Duncan and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn have gathered a lot of information that deals with the relationship between poverty and children’s overall health. Their statistics show how vicious poverty can be on children. According to their data: “Children from poor families are 1.7 times more likely to be born with a low birth weight, 2 times more likely to repeat a grade in school, 2 times more likely to drop out of school, and 3.1 times more likely to have an out-of-wedlock birth than children from non-poor families.”

         Children in low income families are ten times more likely to die as an infant than a child living above the federal poverty line. Children also born into poverty are more likely to be born underweight. On average they are born 7.05 ounces less than the higher income family’s baby. 

         The children in low income families are also two and a half times more likely to suffer chronic diseases, such as asthma, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. They twice as likely to suffer cerebral palsy, or a condition that contains a group of disorders that can involve brain and nervous system functions such as movement, learning, hearing, seeing, and thinking.

         Research has also shown that low income children’s neural system develops very poorly. This poor development affects language development and “executive function”, or the ability to plan, pay attention, and pick up details. If the neural system develops poorly, it is very difficult to reverse the effects of it. This poor executive function makes reading and many other basic skills, a tremendous challenge for children living in poverty. 

         Often times, poor children cannot receive proper health care to combat these problems. This lack of health care can cause long term effects of these disorders and diseases. So these conditions will not just only affect poor children through out their childhood, but also into their adult life. 

         Child poverty and can affect children’s health drastically and in many ways. Poverty can cause diseases and disorders that are difficult to remedy like poor development of the neural system; which cause poor executive functioning. These diseases and disorders will also have, not just short term, but long term health effects on children in poverty. Obviously children born into low income families are at greater health risks than children in higher income families.