What Influence Does Poverty Have on Child Development?
Poverty has been shown to negatively influence child health and development in a number of ways. Despite extensive studies that looked at the relationship between poverty and child development, there is no agreement yet on how poverty should be dealt with. A lot of families fall into the category of "transitory poverty", falling briefly into poverty, but then able to climb back out. Having a volatile income would increase stress for parents, and in turn lead them to be less nurturing with their children.
Children who are persistently poor are at greater risk for poor health outcomes. Children dealing with long-term poverty have shown great reductions in cognitive and socioemotional development and score lower on tests of cognitive achievement than children who are not poor (Moore).
Poverty can affect a child even before it is born. Infant mortality rates have steadily declined in the 20th century, but since the 1980s it has come to a halt, mainly due to low birth weight (Ratcliff).
Prenatal behaviors such as smoking and drug or alcohol consumption, along with poor prenatal care increase risks. Preterm and low birth weight babies suffer from a great number of psychological and intellectual development issues.
Even without having low birth weight or being premature, poverty just by itself can cause serious health problems including death. The main reasons for this are lower incidence of early intervention and increased risk from accidents and illnesses. Some studies have shown only 56% of poor children, even with Medicaid coverage, receive routine care from a physician, versus 82% of children living above poverty (Ratcliff). This, along with non-use of critical immunizations at appropriate times increases the incidence of serious illnesses. There is also the greater risk of accidents or injury due to neglect...