The Effects Of Poverty On The Lives Of Children

3329 words - 13 pages

The Effects of Poverty on the Lives of Children

Child poverty is common in the United Kingdom, 21% of all children
were classified as poor in 1995. One child in three spends at least
one year in poverty over his or her lifetime, and for more than 5% of
children, poverty lasts 10 years or more. Most poor children are
subject to a number of risk factors in addition to low family income;
nonetheless, research shows that poverty has selective, but in some
cases quite substantial, effects on child and adolescent well-being.
Poor children not only experience material deprivation but also are
more likely than non poor children to experience a number of
undesirable outcomes including poor health and death, failure in
school, out of wedlock births, and violent crime.

Child poverty can be reduced by a combination of policies, versions of
which are currently in place in the United Kingdom, to help families
earn more and supplement earned income with other sources of cash
(such as Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits). In addition, the
effects of poverty can be reduced by programs that provide benefits in
the form of goods and services (such as food, housing, and health
care) which are vital to children's well-being.

Despite the frequently voiced sentiment that few programs work, the
United Kingdom has a number of effective programs in place that
address the needs of poor children and reduce their numbers, although
more can be done. To gather public support, however, interventions to
improve conditions for poor children should be consistent with public
values that hold society responsible for (a) meeting basic human needs
for those unable to help themselves and (a) assuring equal opportunity
for all, while also expecting adults to take personal responsibility
for the well-being of their children.

According to the official UK measure of poverty, in 1995 the child
poverty rate in this country was nearly 21%, compared with an adult
poverty rate of 11%.

Working from the premise that children are poor because they live with
poor adults, the reasons for adult poverty are reviewed. Both economic
forces and demographic trends have contributed to growing inequality
of earnings among workers. That inequality coupled with stagnating
real earnings has increased poverty. In addition, education, age, and
race affect an individual's earning capacity; this essay examines the
likelihood that an individual will earn enough to keep his or her
family out of poverty, given the individual's educational attainment,
age, and race. The reasons for the large difference between the child
and adult poverty rates are explored, using a decomposition of the
poverty population to show how demographic characteristics such as
higher fertility rates among poor families and the higher prevalence

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