Intergenerational Poverty

How poverty changes the brain, By Tara García Mathewson, April 19, 2017, The Atlantic: “You saw the pictures in science class—a profile view of the human brain, sectioned by function. The piece at the very front, right behind where a forehead would be if the brain were actually in someone’s head, is the pre-frontal cortex. It handles problem-solving, goal-setting, and task execution. And it works with the limbic system, which is connected and sits closer to the center of the brain. The limbic system processes emotions and triggers emotional responses, in part because of its storage of long-term memory. When a person lives in poverty, a growing body of research suggests the limbic system is constantly sending fear and stress messages to the prefrontal cortex, which overloads its ability to solve problems, set goals, and complete tasks in the most efficient ways…”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Series on Childhood Trauma

From generation to generation, By John Schmid, March 23, 2017, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “When Joseph and Eva Rogers moved to Milwaukee from Arkansas in 1969, there was no better city for African-American workers to find employment. Neither had made it past grade school, but Joe found a job on the bottle line at Graf Beverages, known for root beer, and Eva worked at a rag factory. They were part of what turned out to be the last chapter of the Great Migration, in which 6 million Southern laborers moved north for a better life, and reshaped the nation.  Their daughter Belinda remembers the city at its industrial zenith. For the first time, she says, ‘I saw African-Americans owning homes and businesses.’ She married at 18 and had three children by age 22. Her Louisiana-born husband worked at A.O. Smith, the biggest employer in the city, with 10,000 workers in cathedral-sized factories welding the undercarriage of just about every American-made car. Then a global economic upheaval hit Milwaukee’s industrial core, and engine-makers, machine shops, tanneries, even heralded breweries shut down in rapid-fire succession…”

Intergenerational Poverty – Utah

  • Report: 1/3 of impoverished Utahns spend 1/2 of their income on housing, By Marjorie Cortez, September 29, 2016, Deseret News: ” As the single mother of two young sons and a college student, Isabell Archuleta’s plate is full.  Her life may be hectic, but Archuleta has very specific goals in mind: completing her studies at Salt Lake Community College, then transferring to a university to obtain a degree in elementary education.  She wants to be a first-grade teacher and to provide for her sons, ages 4 and 6, a childhood that is healthier and more economically secure than her own spent in poverty…”
  • Utah kids living in intergenerational poverty could fill 1,611 school buses, By Lee Davidson, September 29, 2016, Salt Lake Tribune: “Isabell Archuleta of Kearns is in the third generation of a family living in poverty. Her sons, Juelz, 4, and Marcelo, 6, are the fourth. But Archuleta is confident she is about to break the cycle for generations to come.  ‘I’ve started to go back to school to become a teacher,’ she said. ‘I think my sons seeing me go to college will make them want to do the same thing.’  She said the Next Generation Kids program of the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) helps her find solutions on everything from nutrition to child care and preschool. ‘It has given me a little bit more support and someone to talk to.’ And after seeing her example, others in her family have entered college, too. A new state report says that while such success stories are increasing, Utah still has far to go…”

Welfare Reform and Intergenerational Poverty

The major flaw in President Clinton’s welfare reform that almost no one noticed, By Max Ehrenfreund, August 30, 2016, Washington Post: “Shavonna Rentie’s father raised her on what he earned working at McDonald’s, along with welfare and food stamps. When she was 15, President Clinton signed a law that changed all of that, replacing welfare with a complex new system that fostered vocational training.  The new law encouraged Rentie’s father to go to school and become a mechanic. Seeing him get the job he wanted ‘pushed me to go for what I really want to be,’ Rentie said.  It was exactly as the writers of the law had planned: Welfare reform would help parents receiving welfare set a better example for their children. The children, in turn, would grow up with broader ambitions, free from the generational cycle of poverty and dependence on government — at least, that’s what policymakers intended…”

Intergenerational Poverty

Can poverty be passed down? A nonprofit tries to break the cycle, By Katie Johnson, July 12, 2016, Boston Globe: “In some households, poverty is passed down from generation to generation, almost like an inherited trait.  Teri Williams, president of OneUnited Bank, sees it happen among the lower-income Boston residents the bank serves. Often it boils down to bad decisions: people with bad credit who can’t get a utilities account use their children’s Social Security numbers to get the gas turned on and then can’t pay the bills, saddling their children with bad credit before they hit adulthood.  ‘We’ve seen that unfortunately too many times,’ Williams said.  New research suggests that these kinds of actions may be tied to the chronic stress of poverty, which can short-circuit brain development in children. This can limit their ability to plan ahead, control impulses, and juggle multiple tasks — skills that are vital to success in school and work…”

Multidimensional Poverty

Poverty, compounded, By Gillian B. White, April 16, 2016, The Atlantic: “It’s true that poverty affects people of all races, genders, and nationalities, but it’s also true that poverty—especially deep, persistent, intergenerational poverty—plagues some groups more than others. That’s because poverty isn’t just a matter of making too little money to pay the bills or living in a bad neighborhood—it’s about a series of circumstances and challenges that build upon each other, making it difficult to create stability and build wealth…”

Intergenerational Poverty – Utah

Modest gains highlight Utah program to break intergenerational poverty, By Christopher Smart, October 1, 2015, Salt Lake Tribune: “Children are the key to breaking the chain of poverty that keeps families in economic distress for one generation after another. Youngsters who are afforded safe environments, good nutrition and early education in preschool and kindergarten are better equipped to learn as they enter elementary school and more likely to graduate high school and pursue advanced training. That is at the crux of what the Utah Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission set out to do four years ago: find solutions to the plague of poverty handed down from parent to child and so on over decades…”

Intergenerational Poverty

  • Report: Kids helped when parents have opportunities, By Ursula Watson, November 12, 2014, Detroit News: “Lawmakers should pass measures that help parents gain education and job training to improve the lives of Michigan’s youngsters living in poverty, a child welfare group says. ‘When you have children, it is very difficult to negotiate going back to school,’ said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, project director of Kids Count in Michigan. ‘We haven’t made it very easy. You used to be able to work your way up, but that’s certainly no longer the case.’ The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s report released Wednesday, Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach, suggests legislation requiring employers to give workers their schedules at least two weeks in advance, making it easier to take classes. It also suggests family and sick time laws, restoring financial aid to older adults attending public universities and improving child care subsidies for working families with low incomes…”
  • Disrupting cycles of poverty requires 2-generation approach, group says, By Marjorie Cortez, November 11, 2014, Deseret News: “National advocates for child well-being say disrupting intergenerational poverty requires a two-generation approach. ‘For too long, our approach to poverty has focused separately on children and adults instead of their inter-related needs,’ said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Voices for Utah Children, a Salt Lake child advocacy organization, will release a national report Wednesday that includes recommendations on policies, practices and programs to help children and families move out of poverty. The report, authored by the Casey Foundation, will include Utah-specific recommendations…”