Free essay on the effects of poverty on children


Each person has their own meaning of poverty. It can be understood as a state when a person cannot afford the essentials of life like fresh food, clean water, and a dry shelter and roof. It is a very evil state which not only required adults to compromise but also children are affected on the same scale. If a child has to endure poverty in his developing years, then the results are very long term and have a huge impact throughout his life. A study shows that poverty reduces the life expectancy by seven years of a child as compared to one who has all the luxuries of life. With each passing year, the number of children being affecting by poverty has increased. However, children have the least choice and ability when it comes to poverty. They cannot change the fact that they are born in a poor household and until they are a little mature, they cannot help their families financially.
There are countless long term and short-term effects of poverty on children. These effects range from being physiological, psychological, emotional and physical. In this paper, we will see how poverty effects children and what difference does it make to the whole life of a person.

Low Birth Weight

Poverty stricken children tend to feel the effects of poverty even before they are born. Due to the mal-nutrition of the mothers, the fetuses are also weak and the baby born has a low birth weight. This way from the start, these children are at a disadvantage. According to the National center of Health Statistics, these weak children have a 3. 5% more chance of developing health problems like asthma, allergies and they have a low immune system. They are more likely to die due to infectious disease. Additionally, research shows that these drastic effects can be transferred genetically. Therefore, a child born weak due to poverty has more chances of giving birth to a weak and unhealthy child in the future. (Poverties. org)

Health Issues

In a recent study conducted by the National Center of Health Statistics, as much as 34% children that are being raised in poverty are obese. These children are under nourished and have a low immune system. Poverty often prevents them from being vaccinated against several diseases. Thus, they get sick more often.
As children born in poor households usually have a low birth weight, their physical and mental development is also slow. These children are seen to lag as compared to their peers. (Poverties. org)

Antisocial Behavior

Another important effect that poverty has on children is that it makes them antisocial. Children use this antisocial behavior as a psychological shield against the discrimination they have to face each day. The hostile attitude which the society has towards them makes them violent and aggressive.
A reason children born in poverty-stricken homes become stressed and violent may be that they often see their parents fighting. There are seldom occasions when poor families have something to celebrate about. The elders are usually fighting or arguing over something, and this action gets incorporated with the children, as well. They do not learn to deal with conflicts. This behavior becomes a part of their personality as they grow up. (Poverties. org)


Another crucial aspect, which is effected due to poverty, is education. Poor children are most likely to receive second-rate education. Reason for this being that these children might be too hungry or tired to concentrate or that insufficient funds may force them to stop going to school. If a child is not properly educated, there is the lesser chance of him to enter into college, which would guarantee a decent paying job. Therefore, a cycle of poverty is created in which the poor child leads a poor life and ends up giving birth to another poor child that will experience the same effects of poverty as his parents. (Cox)


When whole family struggle to achieve the necessities of life, a natural poverty culture is formed. In this culture, people develop certain beliefs and customs that limit the chances of success and relief from poverty. For example, in a poverty culture, it may be acceptable to commit small crimes or to drop out of school. (wiseGEEK)
We should teach children to strive for the success in the future and never give up. Most children born in poverty have the belief that their poverty is destiny, and they have no power to change their destiny. This belief is wrong, and there are many government programs that can help a person break the cycle of poverty.
Naturally, we do not have a choice of family or financial status when we are being born. However, it is up to us how we decide to lead our lives. We may choose to continue the cycle of poverty or to find a way to break free from it and give our future generations a chance at better health, education and life choices.

Works Cited

Cox, Jason. ” Long Term Effects of Poverty on Children.” Poverty Living Long Term Effects of Poverty on Children Comments. N. p., 29 Apr. 2013. Web. 7 Apr. 2014. .
Poverties. org. ” Causes & Effects of Poverty On Society, Children & Violence.” Poverties. org. N. p., n. d. Web. 7 Apr. 2014. .
wiseGEEK. ” What are the Long Term Effects of Poverty?.” wiseGEEK. N. p., n. d. Web. 7 Apr. 2014. .