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Effects of Growing Up in Poverty

It can be argued that economic status is the most important aspect of an individual’s place in society, moreso than race, gender, or religion. This paper explores the effects of growing up in poverty and the economic, social, and psychological effects of being raised in such an environment. If you’re interested in buying an essay for sample use or would like some help writing a paper, please visit our various help sections.

Impact of growing up in poverty

Poverty, or the state of not having enough money to possess the basic necessities in life, is a chronic issue within the United States and throughout the world. Many children grow up in poverty, and the effects can last throughout the lifespan. Although some researchers argue differently, the main effects of growing up in poverty include poor health, a high risk for teen pregnancy, and the lack of an education.

Poor health is a direct effect of growing up in poverty, as children living in low economic families may not have access to adequate medical coverage. If a child does not have health insurance or money to see a doctor, the child will not have the proper immunizations and checkups that are necessary to ensure that the child is healthy. Furthermore, when a child grows up in poverty, the child may be underdeveloped.

Jo Boyden and Michael Bourdillon found that “poor nutrition and high levels of stress can undermine healthy development over the long term” (130). As a result, a child that does not have an adequate amount of food, nutritious food, or those who experience stress at home can be underweight and underdeveloped. Unfortunately, the effects of having poor health can carry through adulthood, as childhood illnesses may lead to chronic health issues throughout the lifespan.

Poverty results in higher teenage pregnancy rates and poor health outcomes

Additionally, a high risk for teenage pregnancy is an effect of growing up in poverty. When teenager girls grow up in poverty, they may get pregnant at an early age and flee a poor household. Further, teenagers who grow up in poverty have less access to birth control and condoms, which can increase the chances of having a baby at a young age. Diandra Prescod and Andrew Daire confirmed these findings when their research determined that teenage girls in poor areas have less access to resources and sex education classes. As a result, teenage girls that grow up in poverty can become pregnant at an early age, and without the financial means to support the child, the teenager girl will continue to live in poverty as an adult.

Although researchers argue that poor health is a direct result of genetics, genetics do not always play a role in chronic health conditions throughout the lifespan. While some medical conditions, such as diabetes, are passed down through generations, people who do not live in poverty will have the financial means and the health insurance needed to maintain the illness. However, if a child is born into poverty, they will be malnourished, underdeveloped, and susceptible for acquiring numerous chronic health conditions. Furthermore, a lack of money and health coverage will prevent the child for receiving treatment and prevention for medical conditions. Therefore, poor health is a direct effect of growing up in poverty since a lack of money will inhibit the treatment of current and future medical conditions in a child.

Poverty and educational attainment

Growing up in poverty also leads to low levels of educational attainment. According to Katherine Magnuson and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, “poor children are one-third less likely to complete high school than those children not living in poor areas” (33). Children living in poverty are at risk for dropping out of school at an early age due to frequent moves, the lack of parental involvement, and a high risk for becoming involved in crimes. When a child quits school at a young age, they will continue to live in poverty since they will not be able to get a good paying job without a diploma or a college degree.

Many children may quit school due to a lack of parental involvement, a lack of transportation to school, an unplanned teenage pregnancy, and the involvement in crimes within their neighborhood. These children will not go on to obtain GED’s and high school degrees because they may now have children of their own, they could be locked up in jail, or they may end up dead. Therefore, stating that a child who quits school is more likely to earn a GED, apply for financial aid, and then go on to earn a college degree and score a high paying job is a logical fallacy named Slippery Slope.

If a child ends up quitting school, it does not mean that they will go on to earn a GED and that this chain of events will occur. Further, claiming that all poor children that go on to obtain college degrees will score high paying jobs is an assumption, as there are many people with college degrees living in poor conditions due to the fact that they cannot find a job or afford to pay their students. Therefore, lower educational attainment is a direct effect of growing up in poverty, and the poverty will continue throughout the lifespan.

Concluding thoughts

To conclude, the main effects of growing up in poverty are poor health, a high risk for teen pregnancy, and the lack of an education. Highlighting this issue in expository essays like this one is a critical step to increasing public awareness of the real-world effects of poverty. Although some researchers argue that genetics cause poor health, teenage pregnancy is universally planned, and that most people that drop out of school go on to earn college degrees and great paying jobs, these findings have been refuted. Growing up in poverty leads to a lack of food and adequate health care, creates limited access to contraceptives and sex education classes, and the child is less likely to return to school, thus continuing the cycle of poverty.

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Works Cited

Boyden, Jo, and Michael Bourdillon. Childhood Poverty: Multidisciplinary Approach. Oxford: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Print.

Chen, Xi-Kuan, Shi Wu Wen, Nathalie Fleming, Kitaw Demissie, George Rhoads, and Mark Walker. “Teenage Pregnancy and Adverse Birth Outcomes: A Large Population Based Retrospective Cohort Study.” International Journal of Epidemiology 36.2 (2007): 368-373. Web.

LeWine, Howard. “Tracking Family History.” Newsweek, 4 Apr. 2005. Print.

Magnuson, Katherine, and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal. “Enduring Influences of Child Poverty.” Focus 26.2 (2009): 32-37. Web.

Prescod, Diandra, and Andrew Daire. “Career Intervention Considerations for Unwed Black Mothers in the United States.” Adultspan Journal 12.2 (2013): 91-99. Web.

Waggoner, Miranda, Robin Lanzi, and Lorraine Klerman. “Pregnancy Intentions, Long-Acting Contraceptive Use, and Rapid Subsequent Pregnancies Among Adolescents and Adult First-Time Mothers.” Journal of Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing 25.2 (2012): 96-104. Web.

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