Child poverty refers to the phenomenon of children living in poverty. This applies to children that come from poor families or orphans being raised with limited, or in some cases absent, state resources. Children that fail to meet the minimum acceptable standard of living for the nation where that child lives are said to be poor. In developing countries, these standards are lower and when combined with the increased number of orphans the effects are more extreme. Children experience poverty as an environment that is damaging to their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual development.
Therefore, expanding the definition of child poverty beyond traditional conceptualizations, such as low household income or low levels of consumption, is particularly important. And yet, child poverty is rarely differentiated from poverty in general and its special dimensions are seldom recognized. Children experience poverty with their hands, minds and hearts. Material poverty – for example, starting the day without a nutritious meal or engaging in hazardous labour – hinders emotional capacity as well as bodily growth.
Living in an environment that provides little stimulation or emotional support to children, on the other hand, can remove many of the positive effects of growing up in a materially rich household. By discriminating against their participation in society and inhibiting their potential, poverty is a measure not only of children’s suffering but also of their disempowerment. Education Children from poorer backgrounds lag at all stages of education. By the age of three, poorer children are estimated to be, on average, nine months behind children from more wealthy backgrounds.
According to Department for Education statistics, by the end of primary school, pupils receiving free school meals are estimated to be almost three terms behind their more affluent peers. 2 By 14, this gap grows to over five terms. By 16, children receiving free school meals achieve 1. 7 grades lower at GCSE. Health Poverty is also associated with a higher risk of both illness and premature death. 3 Children born in the poorest areas of the UK weigh, on average, 200 grams less at birth than those born in the richest areas.
Children from low income families are more likely to die at birth or in infancy than children born into richer families. They are more likely to suffer chronic illness during childhood or to have a disability. Poorer health over the course of a lifetime has an impact on life expectancy: professionals live, on average, 8 years longer than unskilled workers. Communities Children living in poverty are almost twice as likely to live in bad housing. This has significant effects on both their physical and mental health, as well as educational achievement.
Fuel poverty also affects children detrimentally as they grow up. A recent report showed the fuel gap has increased from was ? 256 in 2004 to ? 402 in 2009, and that low income families do sometimes have to make a choice between food and heating. 5 Children from low income families often forgo events that most of us would take for granted. They miss school trips; can’t invite friends round for tea; and can’t afford a one-week holiday away from home. While studies show that there are more play areas in deprived areas, their quality is generally poorer.
Vandalism, playground misuse and danger of injury all act as deterrents to using what otherwise might be good facilities. WHAT IS POVERTY? Poverty usually means having a very low standard of living. Many people that are stricken by poverty can’t even provide the necessities of life and struggle to survive. Most countries in the world experience poverty at some time and at some degree. The most well known countries to experience severe poverty are third world countries, but poverty also occurs in developed and wealthy countries.
Most countries have certain areas where poverty is apparent. In third world countries poverty is noticeable everywhere, where as in more wealthy countries poverty usually occurs in certain areas and is more secluded. For example, one part of a city may appear very affluent, while the outskirts of the city may be overcome by poverty or are where people overcome by poverty have decided to make their homes. People that experience poverty are either born into an environment where poverty is eminent or are overcome by poverty as a result of an unfortunate occurrence. g, lose their job, become homeless, can’t pay off debts etc.
WHERE IS POVERTY COMMON? Areas in the world where poverty is common include India, South-East Asia, Africa and South America (third world countries. ) However, most countries in the world experience poverty to some degree, including Australia. Many people that experience poverty live on the outskirts of cities. Different groups that experience poverty include the homeless, fringe dwellers, aboriginals, the unemployed, single parents, street children and those who are born into a life of poverty.
WHAT RESULTS FROM POVERTY? Poverty results in many tragic outcomes. These include starvation, overcrowding, expanding populations, little clothing, malnutrition and disease. Poverty can also influence people to steal and turn to a life of crime in an effort to survive. Less severe degrees of poverty can also influence people to become depressed and suicidal. They can turn to drugs in an aim to try and forget their troubles. Poverty also leads to people living on the streets and in shelters. Furthermore, poverty can result in higher infant death rates and infanticide.
If a poor woman becomes pregnant and can’t afford to provide the baby with the necessities of life, the baby may risk a chance of becoming very sick or dieing. Infanticide is where infants are killed, so their mothers don’t have to provide for them. Last but not least, poverty not only results in many people suffering, but in the suffering of a country as a whole. There may be a big strain on social security provided by a government to the unemployed. This costs the government and tax payers. WHAT CAN BE DONE TO HELP STOP POVERTY OCCURRING? When considered carefully, it can be seen that all the effects of poverty are negative.
Thus, poverty needs to be stopped. By working together as a nation and even as individuals, we can help end poverty. As a nation, Australia and other countries should give foreign aid to those countries stricken by poverty and donate technology in the form of ‘hardware’. (eg, new tractors, ploughs, new strains of crops etc). In third world countries women often have more children to provide manual labour on farms, as they can’t afford machinery. Providing technology might put an end to this and thus prevent an increase in population and poverty. Individuals can donate money, food and clothing to the poor.
They can also sponsor a family in a poor country (eg, World Vision Child Sponsorship), join groups or organisations who are trying to put an end to poverty (eg, The Salvation Army) and shop at recycled clothing and charity shops whose sales go towards trying to provide poor people with the necessities of life and preventing poverty. People can also donate clothes and food to charities by themselves. Furthermore, social security payments may be given and the poor country’s government can think of putting a limit on the number of children a woman can have.
A poor country’s government should also consider educating its country’s inhabitants about contraception and poverty resulting from overpopulation. Lastly, changing the roles of women may also help end poverty. Women are considered low status members in many less-developed countries and this has an effect on how many children they are expected to bear. If women in third world countries are educated, they might be more aware of birth control measures. Only if the previously mentioned actions are taken will we eventually overcome poverty and its bad effects, and change the lives of many poor people for the better.