How Poverty Affects Daily Living

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Imagine waking up and realizing there’s no food in your home, then having to go throughout the day worrying about when your next meal will be. Think of a life surrounded by violence and anger and about how this would affect your mentality and motivation in your everyday life. Millions of people around the world are affected by these brutal facts everyday. More than three billion people live off two dollars and fifty cents each day, and 1.3 billion of these people live in “extreme” poverty. That’s nearly half of the world that lives in poverty(“11 Facts”). Low income lifestyles have become more and more common in recent years and this fact is revealed in many negative ways. Poverty in today’s world affects the lives of everyone in a society, as seen in an examination of public education, violence in communities, and the civilization itself.

Poverty is brought on in many ways. Poor education is often a major cause of low-income. A good education is often the basis for becoming successful and having the means to be financially stable in life. Sadly, not everyone has the ability to obtain a good education. Often, parents of children in low-income homes have a low vocabulary themselves, and this reflects becomes reflected in their children. “A child’s vocabulary is part of the brain’s tool kit for learning, memory, and cognition” (Jensen). There are many reasons for this fact, but the most prevalent reason is poverty. The effects of poverty on education have affected the world in many negative ways, The question thus becomes, how exactly does poverty become one of the largest causes of a lack of education? Those who come from low socioeconomic homes and families have shown that they have a lot more or a lot less on their minds than retaining a solid education. Families who struggle financially struggle together.

It is often a belief that children who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds typically don’t perform well in school and at other activities because they are lazy. There are those who assume this laziness can be inherited because they watched their own parents be lazy and they become the same way. This is not always true. In many cases, those who work low income jobs work just as hard as middle class families,earning less money due to the labor force they work in. The children who come from this lifestyle can often have depressive tendencies. In a research article about classroom engagement the author, Eric Jensen, writes, “ One reason many students seem unmotivated is because of a lack of hope and optimism” (Jensen). Living in a home with struggling parents can be a large stressor on a child’s life and mental functions. Three-fourths of all low-income homes are single-caregiver situations. Being a single parent who needs to provide for a family with children can often be incredibly stressful. Although parents do not always mean to, when they become stressed about money and other economic situations they can forget to give their children the attention they need.

Low motivation students from homes in poverty need more attention than their fellow classmates. Receiving extra attention can help said students perform better if they can be taught a concept at their own pace. They also work better when given positive reinforcement which is often rare. Their home lives are not as stable. Parents who are stressed may be easily angered and have tendencies to lash out at their own children. This causes a stressor in the child’s life as well. If a child is never given positive reinforcement they start to lack any form of motivation and will not want to try to succeed at something. “Low-income children are the students who need the most assistance in and out of school. They are generally more likely to have developmental issues and to score low on school tests, fall behind in school, get entangled with the criminal justice system, and fail to graduate from high school or attain a college degree” (Suitts, 2013; Tough, 2016). Teachers of students with no motivation will sometimes give them their needed attention and help them to find motivation and positivity. However, this is unfortunately not often the case in the classroom.

Those children who require extra attention are often ignored because there are many children in public schools and not all educational providers have time to focus on just the one. This can be helped. “ Public schools must ensure that they have the resources to help low-income students reduce school absences, avoid school suspensions, and improve both their mastery of subjects and their persistence and grit. Schools must aim those resources carefully to be effective, through offering effective individual instruction, tutoring and mentoring, and better student counseling.” (Sutts, Steve) Those students who feel less than at school are more likely not to go to school at all. If students view school as a bad thing they will not have any reason to want to gain an education. They may also look at their own family members situations in life and not view the future as hopeful and optimistic.

Eric jensen also found in his research that “…lower socioeconomic status is often associated with viewing the future as containing more negative events than positive ones”. These individuals have no hope for their future or even hope for themselves. If they feel inferior to their peers in school settings they do not want to perform any better. Being unable to understand the same materials as your own classmates can become frustrating and cause them to lose all faith in themselves. This causes large rates of dropouts. It is not easy to retain a high paying job without at least a high school education. The outcome of being without a stable job often leads people to take to the streets to find other ways to obtain money.

Living on the streets and constantly being surrounded by violence is nothing new to those who live in excessively poor communities. Violence and living among it has become part of a daily routine for most children in these poverty filled neighborhoods. This has altered not only their mindsets in daily lives it has also affected their personalities as well. Author Erika Hayasaki found in her research that “Kids who grow up with violence as a backdrop in their lives don’t show much emotion in their interview responses and, based on MRI scans, have weaker neural connections and less interaction in parts of the brain involved in awareness, judgment, and ethical and emotional processing.”. In other words children who have grown up around constant violence have become completely numb to the fact that is wrong. For those individuals who do dropout of high school and will more than likely fall into the violence themselves. It is hard for those who have grown up in poverty to establish real connections with people because of their poorly developed neural connections. This becomes a prevalent problem because violence becomes more and more dangerous when there is no remorse shown.

The constant disturbance to the peace caused by poverty puts people’s minds in different places. In recent studies this state of mind has caused people’s actual biology to change. “Now imagine seeing dozens of violent criminals every day. Imagine they are likely to pop out of the shadows at any moment to beat you, rob you, rape you, shoot you. Your stress hormones would be constantly amped up, and after a while your body wouldn’t be able to turn down the volume. Your brain would get stuck in a constant state of fight-or-fight—the kind of chronic stress that impedes the development of stem cells, brain connections and neurons. Immordino-Yang’s work has found that those in this type of environment often do not fully develop the ability to effectively plan, set goals, make moral decisions and maintain emotional stability.” (Hayasaki, Erika)

This brain defect of being stuck in constant fight or flight is damaging to individuals because it causes long-term effects that can actually be passed to your own children. These situations tell individuals that life is dangerous or that they are always in danger. It is not easy to be able to keep true and meaningful relations with other living things of one’s mind does not see anything as safe. Normal brains react with the fight or flight instinct only when it is needed. They do not see life as dangerous or unsafe and are able to trust people to help them and gain instruction. They can obtain stable jobs and work themselves away from poverty. Violence is still a part of their lives like everyone else it is just not as common. It is in the human nature to act violently, some more than others.

Hormones in the brain tell people how to react in situations. This hormone would be the adrenaline from your endocrine. This hormone speeds up the heart rate and puts a person’s brain into the fight or flight mode. This is harmful to a person’s personality. “Now imagine seeing dozens of violent criminals every day. Imagine they are likely to pop out of the shadows at any moment to beat you, rob you, rape you, shoot you. Your stress hormones would be constantly amped up, and after a while your body wouldn’t be able to turn down the volume.

Your brain would get stuck in a constant state of fight-or-fight—the kind of chronic stress that impedes the development of stem cells, brain connections and neurons. Immordino-Yang’s work has found that those in this type of environment often do not fully develop the ability to effectively plan, set goals, make moral decisions and maintain emotional stability.”(Hayasaki, Erka) This emotional and mental change to a person’s biology is often times unable to ever be changed. It spreads in biology,because of this, Violence has always been a part of culture and society and probably always will be.

A research paper done by Seinfeld Shacter suggests that violence has become a coping mechanism in many ways. He dates this theory back centuries claiming that the human population has used violence to solve problems and his largest example of this is war. War has been used as a war to settle argument and misunderstandings on a grand scale. Do to the constant fighting that has been used since the beginning of human existence it has almost been romanticized. In today’s media and culture we are constantly seeing fights and anger towards one another solved by violence. Most media depicts violence in social standings as problems with money and even fighting between race. People have heard of genocides from all over the world but do nothing about it because it’s not as real to them. For those who are living in poverty this racial, and economically caused violence is all too real.

As humans we have all come to see violence. Those who see violence every day can internalize it as part of a daily norm. “Just as children who grow up in an abusive family tend to internalize abusiveness in their own way of coping, the culture of violence legitimizes and rationalizes violence toward others who are weaker or defenseless.”(Shachter, Seinfeld). It should not be a way to get what you need. Gangs have been formed by those who are stronger in weak situations. In the world those who have money are seen as powerful. Without money how else do people obtain power?

By being physically stronger or in other words being the top of the food chain. To get to a level of power such as this people use violence against one another. You do not have to be physically strong to instill fear on others. This is why gangs are formed in poor socioeconomic communities. Robberies, shootings, and other forms of violence have been used to instill fear and show dominance in society. Greed is part of human nature and there are those who will do most anything to meet their needs. These people affect more than just those they are around. Those who see their power also want to obtain it. The weak pick on the weaker and so on and so forth. This disrupts the lifestyles and living of everyone in a civilization.

Peaceful civilization has been disrupted by the effects of poverty. Education because of poverty was at an all time low in the early 2000s. Violence and crime has been massively felt by everyone who lives in poverty and by those who do not. In extremely urban populations there are streets people are warned not do go down because of fear. We see poverty everywhere. In the recent years it has become so normal that we hardly notice it. Poverty is noticed. It is often times passed up or plainly avoided. This does not mean it does not affect everyone. Greed is a part of some people’s nature. This can lead problems for everyone. Again, we don’t go down that street because we do not want to be robbed or even harassed in any way. Therefore it is avoided.

“Such a contrast have become particularly harsh in recent years. The homeless man dying on the park bench while joggers whisk by in oblivion. The single mother struggling to survive on one of the least generous systems the public assistance in the Western world as politicians continue to slash the social safety net, arguing that they are helping such women by doing so. A preschool child who goes to bed hungry yet sleeps in a town where grain a stock pile in warehouse is. In short the contrast or sharp, penetrating, and disturbing.” (Robert, Mark) A sad but all too true quotation from Mark Roberts book “One Nation, Underprivileged” opens up a door to realization that ignoring poverty will never solve it. Unemployment affects the economy and everyone in it. Although Roberts book is based on poverty in America, All of the situations and problems he writes about can be found all the world. Sadly in some areas worse than others.

It is shocking to think that in developing countries 60-80% of all earned income is used to buy food alone. Throughout the world children are starving to death. 165 million children suffer from malnutrition alone. This malnutrition causes about 3 million childhood deaths each year. We have wasted or lost around ¼ to ⅓ of the 4 billion metric tons of food produced. (Gharib, Malaka). That is a lot of disgusting statistics. These harsh conditions can be helped however. There are those working together to feed children in public schools and many acts are put in place to help provide children the nutrition that they so need to get through their every day. Abraham Maslow, an american psychologist during the early 50s, came up with a hierarchy for basic human needs. (Good Therapy) This hierarchy suggests that without one of the basic needs you would be unable to obtain the others. The base of the hierarchy is physiological needs. These are needs such as food, water, warmth, and basic necessities that are needed to survive (Simply Psychology).

The second need on Maslow’s hierarchy is safety and security needs. If someone does not feel safe they cannot form lasting and meaningful bonds with other people, this statistic eliminates the third psychological need that is self-esteem and belonging. If a person does not know how to accept and feel love they do not feel like they have a sense of purpose, therefore they lack hope and motivation. Self actualization is the last need on Maslow’s hierarchy. Having a sense of purpose is vital to a person’s survival and potential in life. If a person does not see their full potential the will never try to achieve more than what they think they can. This lack of motivation and hope has a severe effect on the world. Sadly these statistics reflect on our civilization. However each and everyday there are those coming up with solutions and millions of people who are willing and wanting to help.

There are many who do not live in poverty. There are children who wake up and can easily find food in their households and are able to get the nutrition they need each day to power their brains through their exquisite days of learning. These children will more often times than not retain knowledge through their day that they can use throughout their lives. The opportunity is given to be able to use this knowledge in their future to get a stable job to support them and others financially. Not everyone has these opportunities. A study on global poverty shows more than 3 billion people live in poverty. Research by the United Nations International Children’s Fund has found that 22,000 children die each year due to poverty. An estimated 750 million people do not have access to clean drinking water worldwide. (11 facts). POverty does not just affect those who live in it. World wide poverty negatively affects education status, violence and crimes against other humans, and civilization by and large.

Cite this paper

How Poverty Affects Daily Living. (2021, Nov 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/how-poverty-affects-daily-living/

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