How does poverty impact American families?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a number of impacts that poverty has on families.

  • Bad health.  Poverty puts people at risk of ill health.  To begin with, poverty greatly increases child mortality in the United States.  Other members of poor families are more at risk for things like heart disease, cancer, and pneumonia.
  • Poor living conditions.  Of course, people in poverty cannot afford nice places to live.  They often have to live in inadequate and/or unsafe spaces.
  • Lower life chances for children.  Poor people often have less access to good education.  They are also less able to help their children with school.  They lack the education to help academically and can lack the ability to serve as role models for the importance of education.  This disadvantages children in such families.
  • Greater likelihood of unstable families.  Poor people are less likely to be in stable marriages than more educated and prosperous people.
  • General stress.  All of these factors put much more stress on the members of poor families.  They have many more worries and problems than other people.  This, too, affects the ways in which they live and in which they interact with one another.
missshell529 | Student

-Negative conditions such as substandard housing, homelessness, inadequate nutrition and food insecurity, inadequate child care, lack of access to health care, unsade neighborhoods, and underrescourced schools

-greater rish for several negative outcomes such as poor academics, school dropout, abuse, and neglect, behavioral or socioemotional problems, physical health problems, and developmental delays.

-barrier by children and their families when trying to access physical or mental health care.

- chronic stress which can affect concentration and memory and impat children's ability to learn

- low birth weight, asthma anemia, pneumonia

-risky behaviors like smoking or enganging in unsafe sexual activity

-exposure to environmental contaminants like lead paint and toxic waste dumps and exposure to violence that can lead to trauma, injury, disability, and mortality.