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Children Growing Up Poor in America

Children Growing Up Poor in America Why are some people poor and homeless, while others have so much money they literally throw it away? Depending on who is asked, the reasons for the great inequality range from The United States, the wealthiest nation on Earth, has the widest gap
between rich and poor of any industrialized nation, and disparities continue to grow. The people
most affected by poverty are the future of this country, the children. “Young children are the
largest age group living in poverty today. Children are nearly twice as likely as adults to be
poor”( Papalia et al. 295). Thousands of children around the United States sit on street corners
each day begging for change. In New Orleans, you often see these kids tap dancing for the
tourist’s amusement in the French Quarter. It seems cute, but these children are praying
somebody will give them enough money for them to survive another day. Little do these tourists
know the effects poverty has on children include poor health, ignorance, and crime.

Children from disadvantaged families are more likely than any others to have poor
health. “ Most parents of poor children have no medical insurance and don’t have the money to
pay medical bills. Less than half of these children are immunized against such preventable
diseases as measles, polio, and diphtheria” ( Meltzer 44). These children’s poor health often
begins before they are born. Pregnant women of low income are less likely to seek prenatal help
and are more likely to have poor nutrition and abuse drugs. This can have devastating effects on
a baby ranging from low birth weight and abnormalities to death. There are a few government
sponsored programs, such as Medicaid, that try and offset medical problems of the poor youth,
but these programs do not often reach all that need it. Unfortunately poor health is just the
beginning of problems faced by disadvantaged children.

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WORKS CITED Meltzer, Milton. Poverty in America. New York: William Morrow and Company Incorporated, 1986. National Center for Children in Poverty. Young Children in Poverty Fact Sheet. 1 July 1999. . Papalia, Diane E., Sally Wendkos Olds, Ruth Duskin Feldman, eds. A Child’s World: Infancy Through Adolescence. 8th ed. New York: The McGraw-Hill,Inc. 1999. Streib, Victor L. “ Juvenile Crime.” Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2000. April 6 2000.

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