Let's Talk About Poverty

This next series on our Momentous Institute blog will focus on poverty. Specifically, what impact does growing up in poverty have on children?

By Momentous Institute | Sep 24, 2018
Lets Talk About Poverty Graphic

This next series on our Momentous Institute blog will focus on poverty. Specifically, what impact does growing up in poverty have on children?

Let’s start with the basics.

What is poverty?

There are many definitions of poverty, but essentially, poverty rates are calculated based on the size of a family and the number and ages of children. Current standards state that an annual income of $25,100 or less for a family of four indicates that the family lives in poverty.

How many children are living in poverty in the United States?

About 15 million children in the United States live in poverty, which is about 21% of all children. Research shows that families actually need an income of almost double the poverty threshold indicators to make ends meet. Using this standard, the number increases to over 40% of children in the United States living in low-income families. Here in Dallas, one in five children lives in poverty. Among cities larger than 1 million people, Dallas has the third-highest poverty rate in the country.

Why are we talking about it?

Poverty can have a profound impact on a child’s life. Children who grow up in poverty often face different challenges than children in middle or upper class environments encounter. Poverty can interfere with a child’s ability to focus and learn at school, which can lead to emotional and behavioral issues and can affect academic achievement. Children from lower socio-economic levels often under-perform against children from middle and upper class families, and not because they’re inherently less talented. In short, poverty can get in the way of a child achieving her full potential.

We’ve recently discussed topics that are barriers to equity for children. We’ve talked about race and gender. Another important barrier to equity is the impact of poverty. Understanding the impact of poverty can help adults who work with children – from all socioeconomic levels – provide appropriate support.

What will we cover?

In this series, we’ll dive into poverty from every angle we can think of. How does poverty impact the brain? How does it show up in children? What can we do about it?

What else would you like us to cover in our poverty series? As always, we welcome your comments to blog@momentousinstitute.org. Stay tuned!