WHY DO CHILDREN LIVE IN POVERTY?

Children sit around their beat-up trailer in Louisiana. (2008)

Children sit around their beat-up trailer in Louisiana. (2008)

Children live a life of poverty because their parents do not work sufficiently; their fathers are absent from the home, and the lack of education in the family. It is crucial to the U.S. to understand why children live in poverty, and if poverty is easier to define, it will make it easier for people and the government to understand the necessary precautions to minimize poverty.

Parents are not working sufficiently because they do not work full time jobs. This is because now most poverty-affected parents do not work full time/year, and they earn close to minimum wage. (Eggebeen 632)“Nearly 1 in 3 poor family heads today are in the paid labor force.” (Eggebeen 634). That means that employment is not enough to get a family out of poverty. It is the quality of employment that matters.

An average minimum wage job in Wyoming. (2012)

An average minimum wage job in Wyoming. (2012)

When a husband leaves his wife and family, the mother has to support her family all on her own. With a single mother having children, she is not likely to have a full time job. A single mother cannot even count on her child support because “62 % of fathers do not provide child support.”(Danziger 3). According to Eggebeen, “The poverty rate is 27.1 % for single mothers who are employed, which is substantially lower than the rate of 70.9 % among non-working single mothers. (Eggebeen 634).  This proves that a child is more likely to grow up in poverty if their single mother is not working. Women have made staying home a customary unacceptable route of single mothers. Thus, leaving their family to depend on welfare.  With a single mother not working, her child does not see a strong work ethic in the household. Thus, the child will grow up thinking that they do not need to work either.

Above, a single mother explains why she cannot work and why she needs welfare to support her.

Yet most single mothers do work, but most work part time. With children to raise, part time is a compromise in the working field, but it does not cover all the family’s expenses. Working part time has no job benefits. (Cooper 1). The only benefits come from the government, which are limited and based on your income. For example, a mother can receive food stamps, but if she makes $350 a week or over the government’s eligibility limit, the government does not provide healthcare. Then a mother must resort to a free clinic for her family’s primary healthcare, and that does put the family’s health in danger. (Cooper 1). Even with the greatest intention, to provide, some mothers just cant work full time because of their children.

A graph that shows the difference between single mothers and married mothers

A graph that shows the difference between single mothers and married mothers

Not only are part-time jobs a struggle for single mothers, but also the low wage and inflexibility of jobs because they affect a child’s upbringing. It is proven that Single mothers are more likely to work in low-wage jobs. (Eggebeen 630). Their job quality is not high. More than 80 percent of low-wage workers do not have access to a single paid sick day. (Wright 1). Without paid sick days, a mother must choose between tending to her sick child or loosing her job. According to Wright, “A single mother with two children, working full time at $10 per hour, would slip below the poverty line if one of her children got sick, and she had to miss three days of work without pay.” (Wright 1). Unstable childcare arrangements and strict work schedules are substantial impediments to single mothers in the work force. Single mothers in poverty create a premeditated life for their children to be in poverty as well, by having little or no money towards their education.

A graph showing mothers feelings towards longer/shorter hours

A graph showing mothers feelings towards longer/shorter hours

Minimal schooling in families sets limits on their children’s future education. Since impoverished families have little to no excess income, there is not enough money put aside for the children to go onto education beyond high school. The government does not pay for college for people who cannot afford them. Children continue to live a life of poverty as an adult because they follow their parents’ route of little education, which establishes a low wage job. The average yearly salary for a bachelor’s degree is 45,000, and with a high school diploma it is 23,000. (Cooper 2). One earns nearly half of what they would earn if they went to college. When parents have little education they have low paying jobs, which do not support the necessary funds for their children’s education. All in all if children are educated their quality of life will be improved because they will have the option of a career path instead of a job.

Children grow up in poverty because of their parents’ economical situation of; their parents not working sufficiently, the fathers being absent from the home and the lack of education in the family. Children can escape their impoverished life by reacting smart to economical decisions when they are adults. Poverty is highly prevalent in the U.S. and “more than 29 percent of the county’s children now live in poverty”.(Robertson 1). This issue can be minimized if the government and citizens act correctly. The government should have an incentive to keep fathers from leaving the home of their families or a punishment that follows through with the payment of child support. Also, education should be emphasized as the most salient entity in any economic standing household. Impoverished families need to know how education gives their children a better life. All in all children are pre-born into poverty but their parents, the government, and society can work together to not allow the children stay in poverty.

Oprah was born into poverty of a single teenage mother, but she managed to work her way out of poverty

Oprah was born into poverty of a single teenage mother, but she managed to work her way out and show that it is possible.

Works Cited (Bibliography)

Cooper, Mary H. “The Working Poor.” CQ Researcher 3 Nov. 1995: 969-92. Web. 30 Oct. 2012.

Danziger, Sheldon. Understanding Poverty, Russell Sage Foundation and Harvard University Press, 2001.

Eggebeen, David.”The Effect of Parental Employment on Child Poverty.” Journal of Marriage and Family. 56.3 (1994): 633-645. Print.
http://www.jstor.org/stable/352874>.

Robertson, Todd. “Dallas morning news.” Dallas morning news. (2011): n. page. 20 Oct. 2012.
http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/20111118-editorial-study-finds-growing-child-poverty-among-dallas-prosperity.ece>.

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