According to the report published this July by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, poverty among American children has risen from 2008 to 2013 and the number of children living in poverty has increased by 2 million. This means that more children are living in poverty now, after the economic recession of 2008.
In 2013 there were 16.1 million children living in poverty, according to the report, which makes a total of 22 percent of all the children in America. White children are slightly less affected than those of color and members of minority groups.
It is devastating to know that 39% of African American children, 37% of Native American and 33% of Hispanic children are living in poverty.
Even though the economy has been making a comeback and people are recovering from the recession, the lowest-income families seem to be struggling more. The research on which the report was based upon showed that when a family gathers very low income, it can negatively influence children, especially if the poverty is deep and long lasting. These kinds of difficulties often lead to bad health in adolescence due to malnutrition and inadequate physical development, premature pregnancies, not completing higher education due to many factors (including the inability to concentrate because of hunger) and not being able to find a good job when the time comes. This again leads to deeper poverty and a never-ending circle of it.
These families with minimum or below minimum wages can’t afford living in a good neighborhood and providing healthy food regularly.
They are usually forced to live in a shelter or in some bad neighborhood and eat only when they can gather some money for it. Which child could study in such conditions? No proper light, no proper room and a lack of food. Luckily, some schools provide food for children who don’t have the opportunity to eat their meals at home as their parents don’t have enough to buy groceries. Even when it is summer vacation, the schools are open and the children can come and eat.
This severity of poverty can’t go without consequences on the body and mind of a child.
Such children having to deal with these kinds of problems are under a lot of stress. This results in those children becoming asocial and getting bad grades as they stop trying after seeing that their attempts are in vain. The report also provides facts about the reading proficiency of fourth graders – eighty percent of African American and Latino children can’t read proficiently, 78 percent of Native Americans neither, while there is around 55 percent of white and 49 percent of Asian and Pacific Islanders that are not proficient when it comes to reading. Maybe this doesn’t sound serious to you currently, but it does have a great effect on how those children will find and keep their jobs, how much will they earn and how stable or not their economic situation will be. Also, the more poor people there are, the poorer the country according to statistics, and it is not the goal of the U.S. to become an economically less powerful country.
If the U.S. doesn’t tackle the problem of child poverty soon, the country will become economically less stable, and it certainly won’t be the country with the most college graduates in the world, if things stay this way.