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Poverty is something that nearly one in every two people in the world

experience. Even in a strong economy based system such as the United States,
there are still 8.4 million children who are receiving government aid and housing.

The national poverty rate in the US is 14.8%. Among the poverty population, there
are 8.4 million children who are forced to receive government aid.
Poverty in the Modern Age

Poverty is one of the biggest prevalent issues in the modern world. With the
extreme wealth gap in the world today, "the poorest 40% of the world's population
making 5% of the global income and the richest 20% of the world's population
making 75% of the global income" (Shah 1), it forces groups of people into extreme
poverty. A study done in 2013 indicated that "at least 80% of humanity lives on less
than $10 a day, with almost three billion people living on less than $2.50 a day."
(Shah 1) While the United States is currently the largest economy in the world, it is
still not spared from the issues of poverty. According to PovertyUSA, an initiative
created by the catholic community to stop poverty in the United States, "47 million
people lived in Poverty USA. That means that the poverty rate for 2014 was 15%."
However, the most disturbing statistic is that, "The poverty rate in 2014 for children
under the age of 18 was 21.1%, higher than any other age group." (US Census)
Poverty in Schools
Such a high rate of child poverty translates to a high amount students that
come from low-income families. "The Southern Foundation reports that 51 percent
of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in the 2012-2013 school year
were eligible for the federal program that provides free and reduced-price lunches."
(Layton) The reduced lunch program is a clear indicator on the poverty issue in our
school system. Poverty in schools is not just a statistic. It has major implications on
children who falls under this category. Studies have shown that students that come
from a background of poverty often face extra emotional and social stress. "Many
low-SES children face emotional and social instability. Typically, the weak or anxious
attachments formed by infants in poverty become the basis for full-blown insecurity
during the early childhood years." (Jensen) Children from poverty backgrounds do
not have the necessary funds to be socially successful in school. They do not have
the ability to attend social events or sport teams. "The school socialization process
typically pressures students to be like their peers or risk social rejection, whereas
the quest for high social status drives students to attempt to differentiate
themselves in some areas- sports, for example." (Jensen) Social awkwardness and

anxiety also correlates to worse academic performance. "The Anxiety Disorders

Association of America reports one in eight children suffer from anxiety disorders.
Without intervention, they're at risk for poor performance and diminished learning."
(Minahan) This means that children that have a poverty stricken background are not
only limited socially, but also educationally.

Kids to adults in poverty

Poverty is not a situational problem. It is something that has a terminal effect
on one's life. Poverty, as shown through research, can actually change the physical
brain. "Aside from the influence of environmental factors of poverty may have on a
student's behavior and school performance, the researchers found that poverty also
appears to alter the physical makeup of a child's brain... children exposed to
poverty had smaller volumes of white and cortical gray matter." (Bidwell) This
meant that early childhood development is severely impacted by poverty. Poverty
also impacts the environment in which a child develops into adulthood. Poverty
stricken areas are often connected to high crime rates. "Poverty and Crime have a
very 'intimate' relationship that has been described by experts from all fields, from
sociologists to economists." (Ward) Poverty stricken areas tent to have high
unemployment percentages. Desperate people unable to find jobs are often forced
into crime to provide for their families. "Starting from the 1970s, studies in the US
pointed more and more at the link between unemployment, poverty, and crime."
(Ward) The sad truth is, kids that are born in poverty eventually end up in poverty
as adults. Kids born in poverty are never given the same amount of opportunity as
kids grown in affluent families. They are restricted educationally, emotionally, and
socially. Unable to make connections and progress in education, many of these
children end up back in poverty. "Social and economic deprivation during childhood
and adolescence can have a lasting effect on individuals, making it difficult for
children who grow up in low-income families to escape poverty when they become

Impact of Poverty on Success

Organizations trying to stop poverty

URLs Used: (Shah) (US Census) (Layton) (Jensen) (Ward) (Bidwell) (Wagmiller & Adelman)