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The Impact of Poverty on Children and Minority Groups


The problem of poverty, not only among children but also among adults, has plagued this planet for a long time. It prevents people from living life to the fullest, consequently affecting society. When it comes to children, they are the ones who suffer the most from peer attacks, lack of education, which leads to problems in adulthood, or the banal lack of necessities for survival. Especially talking about minority groups, which is already a problem because of rights disadvantage which exists nowadays (Todaro & Smith, 2006). This is what this presentation will focus on, the things people need to consider to minimize these problems in the future.

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Key Metrics

According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Supplementary Survey, 2001 Supplementary Survey, 2002 through 2019 American Community Survey, a decrease in the number of children who are in poverty can be observed. As of 2019, their number does not exceed 17% of the total number of children belonging to different ethnic groups. Most of those who are outside the poverty line are of Hispanic or Latino race, with more than three million children. Compared to 2010, the overall trend of poor children has decreased by 5%. This is already a great achievement, apart from the fact that the current number of 17% is still very high. More than twelve million children two years ago were considered poor and unable to make the most of their opportunities.

Children in poverty by race and ethnicity in the United States.

Ways the Poverty Harms Children and Minorities

Poverty Harms the Internal Organs

Lack of nutrition and good conditions worsens a child’s quality of life and makes it more susceptible to all kinds of illnesses. It is very common to see how children from poor families look inferior to their peers. The same is true of ethnic minorities. The consequences of this problem are irreversible. Due to the poor condition, the brain starts to develop much worse, which has an impact on general problems with other organs, as well as life changes in general. Reduced brain activity is known to lead to mental retardation and earlier deaths.

Poverty Leads to Poor Physical and Mental Health

As living conditions may be far from normal, the lack of opportunities to exercise and to think about their diet also affects the development of children and minorities. This is largely a consequence of the point discussed above. Reduced activity affects the contraction of nerve fibers and leads to muscle atrophy. The lack of exercise will make a child, or a member of a minority ethnic group look much worse than those around them and, therefore, it will affect their mental state, impairing their perception of the world.

Poverty Creates Social Problems

A poor child, like a member of a minority, is quite often bullied by others, leading to a distancing from society. Such people become hermits and do not allow others to help them because they are afraid of being ridiculed. This includes children who are afraid of other children at school, even if they want to make friends and adults who subconsciously feel threatened by others. This is more evident in children, who often drop out of school because of the social distance and then cannot find a place in life. A result is a closed-off unit of society.

The Theory

My theory is based on the fact that poverty among minority populations is the result of psychological and sometimes physical pressure on a person because of their dissimilarity to the rest. The whole problem is prejudice and inequality between people, which makes the problem even worse every year. It is inequality that prevents people from being like the rest and getting the same opportunities just because of the color of their skin or belonging to different ethnic groups. This can be compared to the wheel of Sansara, where the cause is the effect, and the effect is the cause.

An Example

A perfect example of a crime committed by a teenager because of his financial situation is theft. This, he believes, is both an opportunity to make money and to raise authority amongst offenders like him. This child is not so much looking for an opportunity to make money as to show others like himself that he can be among them. This is what the theory suggests, that prejudice pushes a person to act. And just in this example, you can see how the child, although acting against the law, wants to get rid of the stigma of being ‘not like others’ and become a full member of a society of his own kind.

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Pros and Cons

The most important advantage of this theory is its clarity. It means that it is very easy to project it onto life’s circumstances and consider its objectivity by example. It is also a great advantage that it does not concentrate on a particular minority or child but covers all its representatives. Furthermore, it is universal to all countries of the world, as situations are often repeated. The disadvantages are that it is very broad and does not give a concrete picture of any given situation. It cannot be called complete and too many inputs are missing.


Todaro, M. P., & Smith, S. C. (2006). Economic development. Pearson Addison Wesley.

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