Young children living in low socioeconomic households are probably not aware of the money troubles their parents experience. However, they do sense an overall tension in the household, which makes them apprehensive and tense, the American Psychological Association says. Parents may be so focused on work and money that their children are emotionally neglected – regardless of the love and care the parents wish to give them. So children in low-income households live in chronic stress.
Growing up in this environment causes children to have underdeveloped language skills, experience trouble forming memories, and they are less able to hold on to information over time. They also experience less stimulation from toys and books because these cost money, putting them at a disadvantage from an early age. Because of this less developed cognitive system, they are less likely to pursue or receive secondary education, which makes it much harder for them to change their socioeconomic status. In addition, children who experience three or more episodes of homelessness between kindergarten and 12th grade have a 78 percent chance of not graduating high school.
How People in Poverty Live
7 things that are part of normal life for impoverished families
- Search for affordable housing. Poor families either have to make do with substandard or dangerous housing, depend on the hospitality of relatives, or go homeless. (The New York Times)
- Try to make $133 worth of food (the average amount for a food stamp recipient each month, as of 2016) last a whole month. That’s $4.38 per day. (Kaiser Family Foundation)
- Skip a meal. Once in six Americans are food insecure. (World Vision, U.S. Department of Agriculture)
- Work longer and harder. Poor people actually work longer and harder than most. (Poverty and Learning)
- Live with chronic pain. Those earning less than $12,000 a year are twice as likely to report feeling physical pain on any given day. (Kaiser Health News)
- Live shorter lives. There is a 10 – 14-year gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor. (Health Affairs)
- Accomplish one single goal: stay alive. Many working poor families are preoccupied with day-to-day survival. Life is not something to be enjoyed so much as endured. (Huffington Post)
People living in poverty desperately need the support and resources that People’s City Mission and like-minded ministries can offer. This allows them to break the cycle and move toward life-transforming programs and services. Their lives depend on it.
Taken from INSTIGATE, The magazine of Citygate Network