Poverty is a widespread issue with many damaging effects on those who experience it. In the United States, 10.5% of all citizens (34 million) suffer from poverty. Poverty is especially detrimental to children who experience it. There are over 74 million children under the age of 18 in the U.S. and 14.4% of them (over 10 million kids) live below the poverty line. Here are the effects poverty has on children:
- Nutrition - Poverty often leaves families without enough food to properly feed their children. This affects the amount and quality of food that kids living in poverty receive, which can impact their physical development, ability to fight off diseases and illnesses, and their overall health. It is common for kids suffering from poverty to receive most of their food while at school.
- Academics - Poverty also impacts the academic performance of children and furthers the achievement gap. This is caused by multiple factors, such as under-resourced schools in impoverished communities, high drop-out rates, and difficulty concentrating and retaining information due to stress associated with living in poverty. These academic struggles also further the cycle of poverty because kids are unable to lift themselves out of poverty due to their inadequate education.
- Security - Poverty also affects the security of children, as impoverished communities tend to have higher rates of crime and violence. This can impact the experiences children have in their own neighborhoods and potentially cause them to end up in unsafe situations.
- Homelessness - Poverty can also push families into homelessness, which affects the stability a child has (and needs) in their life. This takes away a child’s opportunity to have a real childhood, and can also affect whether they stay in school, get enough food, or are able to stay safe and healthy.
- Health - Poverty can have a big impact on the health of children, affecting their growth and development, their access to healthcare and medicine, their likelihood of developing chronic illnesses, and their overall mental health and stress levels.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta aim to serve the children in our communities, especially those suffering from poverty. Over 60% of youth in the Delta live below the poverty line, while 78% of our club members live in single-parent homes, and 98% of our members qualify for Free & Reduced Lunch at school. Each of our clubs provides kids with a safe place to play, learn, exercise, and receive nutritious foods. Find out how you can get involved with our organization by signing your child up for a club, making a donation, or volunteering to help our cause today!