Everybody has his or her own definition of what poverty is; whether it’s not having enough money to survive or not being able to receive the education one needs to make a living. First, the definition and different types of poverty will be given. Second, the effects poverty has on children and education will be discussed. Third, the effects poverty has on the different races and why those who are not directly affected should be concerned. Many people will argue that poverty greatly affects children, education, and race.

Poverty has become one of the most important social problems in recent years, and will continue to be just as important in the near future. Social scientists and economists have come up with three different definitions of poverty. ”The first definition of poverty states poverty is when an individual is unable to make enough money to buy the necessities for survival (Sachs 44). ” “The second definition of poverty interprets poverty as being unable to obtain the education and healthcare needed to live a normal life (Sachs 45).

“The third and final definition of poverty is when an individual has an adequate income and means for survival but they are not able to fully participate in the community (Sachs 46). ” “The first definition is most widely used, and the measurement used to determine poverty is the economic well-being of an individual. Income, consumption, and welfare are the three different types of economic well-being measurements (Yunus 144). ” Furthermore, there are two different types of poverty: absolute and relative poverty. Absolute poverty is when a person does not have the essentials to survive.

The basic essentials for survival vary from each person, which makes it hard to define what exactly is needed to survive. Relative poverty is when an individual is making less than the average income in the society they live in. “The poverty line in the United States has tried to establish the minimum requirements for food needs and overall poverty, but the problem with the poverty line is that it doesn’t account for the cost of living (Yunus 145). ” For example, the cost of living in New York City or Los Angeles is much higher than the cost of living here in Wayne, Nebraska. What the government failed to realize when they established the poverty line in 2002 is that people want to do more than simply just exist on Earth; they want to live a meaningful life where they feel society needs them (Yunus 122). ”

Now that you have a good understand of what poverty is, lets look at how poverty affects children and education. The group of people most affected by poverty is children. “Children could potentially suffer from chronic malnutrition if they live in poverty for a long period of time (Payne 88). “If chronic malnutrition occurs in infancy or early childhood the child’s immune system could be damaged and the child has a risk of suffering from a learning disability (Walls 221). ” Some major consequences of chronic malnutrition effect the development of the central nervous system, cause permanent brain damage and even mental retardation.

“Children living in poverty are also two times as likely to suffer from a physical or mental disability compared to the children not living in poverty (Payne 131). Along with not being able to receive the proper healthcare, children living in poverty rarely receive a good education as well. Children who live in poverty often times attend low-preforming schools where expectations of students tend to be extremely low. The school districts these schools are in rarely receive the proper funding to provide a good education. The neighborhoods these schools are located in tend to be quite dangerous, and the equipment in these low preforming schools is usually outdated.

With all that being said it’s extremely difficult for these schools to attract the best teachers when these schools desperately need the best teachers. “In some schools the quality of the education is so low that it is just slightly better than receiving no education at all (Payne 120). ” Living in poverty not only affects children while they are in school, but it also has long term effects as well. “Some cities are unable to hire skilled teachers because of city budget complications (Yunus 105). ” This is why many children who live in poverty never graduate from college, because most of them never even attend college.

Machines and new technology are eliminating many of the jobs in factories that required little skill and gave job opportunities to those who did not graduate or did graduate but didn’t attend college. The only jobs available are those that require at least an associate’s degree from a college. “This causes the children who grew up in poverty and were unable to receive a proper education to not be able to earn a decent living and to continue to live a life of poverty with no way of ever getting out of poverty (Ehrenreich 100). ”

This in turn causes the hildren of these parents to live a life of poverty, thus allowing this vicious cycle of poverty to continue and repeat itself. Although poverty affects children and education, poverty also affects races differently than one another for a wide variety of reasons. Poverty is one of the leading reasons for such great inequality in our country. “Whites in our country are twice as likely to have high-ranking jobs in our society than blacks and Latinos (Walls 150). ” This means that whites have most of the high paying jobs in our society leaving the low paying jobs to the other races.

This alone creates poverty for blacks and Latinos, because they do not have the high paying jobs that allow them to make a decent living and are barely able to make ends meet because the jobs they have pay extremely low wages. “Blacks and Latino families make roughly seventy percent of what a white family makes, and black and Latino families where a female is the sole provider make less than half of what a white family makes weekly (Sachs 75). ” Blacks and Latino families live in poverty simply because they do not make as much money as a white family does.

Since a large percentage of Blacks and Latinos live in poverty due to low wages, this also causes them to make up a large percentage of those who are unemployed. “In the year 1986, there was a large disparity in unemployment between blacks and Latinos compared to whites: 14. 8 percent of black males, 14. 2 percent of black females, 10. 5 percent of Latino males, and 10. 8 percent of Latino females were unemployed compared to only 6 percent of white males and 6. 1 percent of white females being unemployed (Sachs 30).

The reason for the large disparity of unemployment is that the whites occupy a majority of the high paying jobs, and the jobs that are left do not pay good wages thus resulting in poverty. According to Peter Edelman this occurs because, “Greater inequality in poverty is likely to exist in places where there is a greater range of economic opportunities because there is a larger difference between the high and low ends of the spectrum (719-720). ” This causes one race to have all the jobs in one area, and another race to have the jobs in another area; thus creating inequality, which results in one of the races living in poverty.

Children, education, and race are all directly affected by poverty, but there are also individuals and indirect effects of poverty on those who are not directly affected by poverty. Even if an individual or family is not living in poverty, they are still indirectly affected by poverty. In order for our country to strong and successful the middle class must continue to grow. “However, the American Welfare system is slowly eliminating the lower middle class (Payne 186). ” With the direction our economy is headed jobs that required an associate’s degree or some form of higher education are now requiring even more education and skills.

This means that those who are able to obtain these new skills and education needed for the new economy will remain in the middle class or possibly move up to the upper middle class, but the individuals who are living comfortably now who can’t acquire the new skills needed will fall into the lower class and ultimately live a life of poverty. Another indirect effect of poverty is when poverty is present there tends to be a lot crime occurring; people not living in poverty could possible be the victim of a crime at the hands of someone who is living poverty.

The indirect effects of poverty are just as important as the direct effects of poverty. Poverty greatly affects children, education, and race. Everybody has a different idea on what poverty is and what it affects. Children are affected by poverty before they are even born, poverty has a tremendous role in the type of education received whether it is good or bad, and there is a wide disparity of poverty among races. Poverty has and will continue to be an important social problem in our society.

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