Summer Semester


Povertyin Regard to Juvenile

  1. What does poverty mean and who are the poor in the United States? Every society has different social groups, the poor, the middle class and the rich. The poor exist in both developed and developing economies. However, the definition of poverty may differ depending on the place, and the level of economic development. Poverty can be defined as the lack of economic ability to live up to standards. In the U.S it is defined as an annual income less than an annual income of $23,021 for a family of four, or less than $63 a day. Extreme poverty on the other hand is an annual income of less than half of the poverty limit which is $11,511 annual income for a family of four (Birckhead, 2012). What is the extent of poverty in the United States? Many would expect that poverty levels in the United States are insignificantly low. On the contrary, poverty is an issue of concern in the U.S just like in other countries. To understand the link between poverty and juvenile in the United States, it is important to understand the extent of poverty among children. In a report released by the Census Bureau in 2012, it was revealed that one in every five children, accounting for 16.1 million children were poor in 2011. More than five million of this number was below age five (Birckhead, 2012).

Whatis the relationship between low income families and juveniles in theAmerican urban settings? Childrenare born innocent and what leads them to crime is due to thelifestyles or the upbringing that they receive. The poor children inthe shanties must adapt to their harsh environment to survive.As such, majority of juveniles in the United States are from lowincome families and in low social economic neighborhoods. This trendhas been evident for a long time despite the improvement of theeconomy over the past decades. According to Wade,Shea, Rubin &amp Wood (2014)children raised in low neighborhood communities strive to get basicneeds. They are forced to engage in crime early in order to meet someof their needs. Whatelse apart from satisfying their needs does motivate juveniles inpoor neighborhoods to engage in crime?Itis understandable when a child steals a loaf of bread from the localstores, to have it as his or her meal or to take to her siblings athome who may be starving. However, some crimes such as assault,kidnappings, carjacking that some children may engage in may not beeasy to explain.Thisleads to exploring the other reason for children engagement incrimes.Criminal activities in urban poor neighborhoods are very high. Allkinds of crimes are executed in the poor neighborhoods includingrape, robbery with violence, kidnappings, car-jacking, murders andother crimes. Wade,Shea, Rubin &amp Wood (2014)argues that crime may be ‘contagious’ in areas with high crimebecause the social penalties for engaging in crime or the likelihoodof being arrested may be lower than in low-crime neighborhoods.Neighborhood crime may also influence the actual or the perceivedreturns to schooling and work by hindering access to qualityeducation, jobs and role models (Wade,Shea, Rubin &amp Wood, 2014)which may depress the opportunity costs of crime. Whocan help in correcting the problem of poverty and the subsequentjuvenile in the society? Theproblem of poverty is largely blamed on the government which Ibelieve is quite okay given that the government controls resourceexploitation and use.However, Solomon (2012) believes that poverty is an evil cycle whichruns through generations. According to the author, children born inpoverty do not afford quality schooling, hence cannot compete forprime jobs and end up living and raising their children in the sameconditions as they were raised.


Birckhead,T. (2012 Sept.). Delinquent by Reason of Poverty — Take Two.Retrieved September 22, 2014).

Solomon,L. D. (2012). Cyclesof Poverty and Crime in America`s Inner Cities.Transaction Publishers.

Wade,R., Shea, J. A., Rubin, D., &amp Wood, J. (2014). Adverse childhoodexperiences of low-income urban youth. Pediatrics,134(1),e13-e20.