Breaking the Poverty Cycle


Poverty is cyclical; it begins in childhood, continues into adulthood, and is passed on to new children. Because poor children lack the foundational skills of learning, due to the family stress and struggles outlined below, school often proves too challenging for him, so he is more likely to drop out and not pursue a college degree. This will lessen the amount of money he can earn. Thus, perpetuating the cycle of poverty into adulthood, and passing it on to his own children.

Ending the cycle means treating poverty, such as ending the cycle of depression and obesity this demographic faces. Moreover, treating drug and alcohol problems can end suffering, and bring financial relief into the household because the addict can return to work, or find a better paying job once he’s straightened out. Poverty-ridden Americans struggle with more chronic health problems than other demographics, but treating these problems could result in happy children; thus, breaking the cycle.

Poverty Leads to Depression

According to the Gallop Healthways Well-Being Index, approximately 31 percent of poor Americans admit to a depression diagnosis. It’s the biggest health issue poor people face, and it’s costly. Even with Medicaid, prescriptions sometimes have a copay.

Because depression affects a person’s entire life (interfering with work, family, and other responsibilities), it’s extremely expensive. People who live paycheck-to-paycheck, but then miss work can find themselves in a detrimental position.

According to, “There is a great deal of research documenting that children of depressed parents are high rick for depression themselves…” To break the cycle, parents suffering from depression need treatment, including medical and therapeutic. Simply having someone to talk can help a person overcome depression.

Poverty Can Cause Relationships to Fail

Having solid and healthy relationships with others is key to living a healthy, happy life. The amount of money a person has, however, seems to affect a person’s ability to build and sustain these relationships. Those living below the poverty line tend to have more unreliable and toxic relationships than those with money.

According to a census report on marriage, “children of divorce are more likely to be poor.” Although no one is encouraged to stay in a toxic relationship, it’s important that parents consider the effects of their break-up on their children. Because three-quarters of children reside with their divorced mother, and most divorced mothers struggle in poverty, it may be necessary for society to lend a helping hand to divorced mothers. This may lead to increased success post-divorce, which is something that can help break the cycle of poverty.

More People in Poverty Abuse Drugs and Alcohol

According to, addiction does discriminate. “As poverty in America hits a record high, drug and alcohol abuse has spiraled among the poor and the unemployed, giving lie to the notion that addiction affects everyone equally.” Because drug and alcohol abuse is passed from generation to generation, the child of an addict is likely to become one himself.

The only way to stop the cycle is to get the parent help, and thus show children that addiction is a battle than can be won. Sandy’s Place, a comprehensive recovery center, recommends a customized treatment program that depends on who you are (mom or dad) and what you’re addicted to. This should help you “regain control of and redefine your life.”

While the saying “money doesn’t buy happiness” may be true, money or wealth does help prevent some serious health issues that those living in poverty experience. Being poor should not be a guarantee that a person’s health is jeopardized. Until this cycle is eliminated, however, more poverty-stricken people will continue to suffer.


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