the 21st century Children growing up in poverty experience many
disadvantages which accumulate across the life cycle. Poverty has multiple,
negative impacts on children’s outcomes leading to inequalities in health,
cognitive development, psychosocial development and educational attainment.
These inequalities are evident from preschool children through children during
the school years, from entry into the labour market to resources for
retirement, from mortality rates in the future, and often on to the next

          Children growing up in poverty face
multiple disadvantages in relation to health. They are more likely to be born
with low birth weight, which is a significant factor in later physical and
mental health outcomes and one that is of increasing research interest. They
are also more likely to have a mother with poor health and poor health
behaviours factors which are shown not only to be patterned by socioeconomic
status but which also have significant negative impacts on child health.
Children living in poverty are more likely to develop ill health or have
accidents during childhood as well as face a wide range of poorer health
outcomes in adulthood. Children living in poverty are also more likely to
experience poorer mental health and lower subjective wellbeing both in
childhood and in adulthood.

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          There is a significant association
between children’s early cognitive development, educational attainment, future
employment prospects and earning power. The evidence is strong that growing up
in poverty has detrimental impacts on cognitive development and that the length
of time spent living in poverty exacerbates these detrimental impacts, with
children living in persistent poverty displaying the worst cognitive
development. Children who perform highly in ability tests in early childhood
who are from low socio-economic backgrounds are repeatedly overtaken in ability
tests carried out in later childhood by children from higher socioeconomic
backgrounds who had performed less well in the early years. Mothers exposed to
persistent economic hardship are more likely to experience continued stress,
which in turn is associated with reduced cognitive stimulation for their
children and less involved parent-child interactions, which in turn impacts
negatively on their children’s developmental outcomes. Economic hardship is
more strongly associated with cognitive than with behavioural development and
maternal depression has a greater negative effect on behavioural rather than
cognitive outcomes.

          There is substantial evidence that
poverty is linked to poorer social, emotional and behavioural outcomes for
children, with the relationship appearing to be less strong in early childhood
and gathering strength in middle childhood. Positive social, emotional and
behavioural skills in childhood have been ultimately linked to higher
educational attainment and stronger labour market outcomes in adulthood. In
early childhood, however, research shows that poverty is linked to higher
social, emotional and behavioural difficulties scores in children although its
effects are mediated by maternal characteristics such as mother’s depression,
mother’s self-esteem and the quality of the parent child relationship.
Furthermore the negative effect of maternal mental health on social, emotional
and behavioural outcomes is stronger for boys than for girls.

          There are many more impacts that
affect poverty during the 21st century but the effect of poverty on
health, the effect of poverty on cognitive development and educational
attainment and the effect of poverty on social, emotional and behavioural
outcomes are the major effects that affect young people the most during this
century. These major effects can be change in the future because of the never
ending poverty that is happening to different countries around the world

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