The Result of Poor Mothers Having More Poor Children

…I think about the one million children who…will be born into poverty next year. One million new entrants into poverty…more than 50 percent of them will spend half their childhoods in poverty. Twenty-nine percent of them will live in high poverty communities. Ten percent of them will be born low birth weight, a key indicator of cognitive delays and problems in school. Only 60 percent of them will have access to health care that meets the criteria for having a medical home. By age three, fewer than 75 percent of them will be in good or excellent health, and they’ll be three times more likely than their more affluent peers to have elevated blood lead levels.

…by the time they enter kindergarten, most of them will test 12 to 14 months below the national norms in language and pre-reading skills. Nearly 50 percent of them will start first grade already two years behind their peers. During the early grades, these children are more likely to miss more than 20 days of school every year starting with kindergarten, and that record of chronic absence will be three times that of their peers. When tested in fourth grade, 80 percent of these children will score below proficient in reading and math.

Ralph Smith, Annie E. Casey Foundation, at the Brookings Institution. HT: Timothy Taylor.

Comments (8)

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  1. Linda Gorman says:

    Gotta love Annie E. Casey–adequate health care is now redefined as that which includes “access to health care that meets the criteria for having a medical home.”

    Just like their overestimate of Colorado child poverty numbers a few years back.

  2. Ender says:

    It’s the (almost) never ending cycle of poverty.

  3. Alex says:

    Good education and a free market can solve poverty, but it’s a shame we don’t have either.

  4. seyyed says:

    yes, but there needs to be a way to provide better education for kids that grow up in low income neighborhoods.

  5. Studebaker says:

    This is a heart wrenching narrative. I wonder if Ralf Smith explained how to reduce some of this poverty? If he didn’t I will: teach young women (and the men who someday hope to have romantic interest in them) to study hard and stay in school until you have a skill. Before conceiving children, women should endeavor to gain a skill and get married to a partner who has a skill and will stay to raise the child. A child born into a two-person, two-income family has a much better chance of not growing up poor than a child born to a single mother with no education or skillset.

  6. Dorothy Calabrese MD says:

    I’ve never seen greater love for their child than that of poor 16 year old moms in the Bronx where I grew up, and the pediatric poor I treated at NY Columbia Presbyterian in Washington Heights and at University Hospital in Newark. The poor value relationships – not things they will never have.

    “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” Mother Teresa

    Dorothy Calabrese MD
    allergy & Immunology, San Clemente, CA

  7. Robert says:

    So how do we break this cycle?

  8. August says:

    “Like the world wars, the Great Depression, civil rights, persistent poverty is worthy of an engaged national as well as federal government” – Ralph Smith