What Does Poverty Do to Children?

Here’s What Poverty Really Does to Children

In the midst of all crises facing humanity, we tend to gloss over one of the biggest evils in society: children living in poverty.

The suffering that a poverty-stricken child undergoes often finds a way to come back and haunt society in one way or another- manifesting into things such as drug addiction, crimes, and much worse. 

Studies reveal that poverty affects children well before they’re born since poverty-related stress can affect mothers during pregnancy. When children enter into the world, they’re plunged into a life of struggle as they cope with issues such as under-housing, inadequate healthcare solutions, and lack of nutrition that affects their physiological and psychological development.

Let’s explore the devastating effects of poverty that over 21% of children in the US are exposed to every day. Here are just a few. 

Their Teeth Always Hurt

Tooth decay is an epidemic that affects at least 1 in 5 children between the ages of 5 and 11. Research by the Pew Charitable Trusts reveals that tooth decay severely affects eating, socializing, and sleeping and it causes pain that could lead to infection. Lack of dental care also leads to low self-esteem when poverty-stricken children compare their circumstances with those of their affluent counterparts.

Dental pain also increases school absences and hampers a child’s education. A report by the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry showed that children with tooth pain were more likely to have a low GPA threshold below 2.8 when compared to their peers without tooth pain. This has long-term repercussions for their employment opportunities, academic achievement, and ability to earn a living.

The Winters Are Brutal

The winter months are extremely hard for poor children since winter clothes represent a much bigger strain on their budget. Most parents struggle to keep up with the bills and are in a constant tug of war between priorities. They have to make hard choices on what to sacrifice to cover the basic needs such as rising housing costs, utilities, health costs, and transportation – something has to give.

And that ‘something’ is usually winter clothes. Science tells us that young children don’t have strong immunity defenses against cold viruses that become airborne during winter months.

There’s No Food to Eat

Children who don’t have access to proper nutrition tend to run into long-term health complications and problems that affect their academic achievement and physiological development. Most short-term effects include dental cavities, iron deficiency, and stress levels. These children are more likely to experience high absenteeism in schools.

According to Children’s Defense Funds, a lack of iron deficiency during infancy leads to a loss of IQ later on in life.

What Can You Do About It?

That’s why at Mansfield Cares our mission remains the same: to provide the funds our local charities need to help children receive proper nutrition and school supplies to get out (or stay out) of the trap of poverty.

These children need our assistance to break away from the complex challenges that their families face each day. You can partner with us at Mansfield Cares or any of our (or other) organizations committed to helping those who need it the most. 

Make a difference now.

Advocate for change, get involved in your local community, and together let’s work with our local charities to help pull these children out of poverty. 


Chris Gensheer is the Founder of Empathy Marketing Group and writes for Mansfield Cares because he believes local charities working to help their neighbors deserve to be supported. Connect with him by email or on Facebook. To find out more about Mansfield Cares and all the good they do for Mansfield, visit them at mansfieldcares.org