Poverty in Children and Family


In Canada many people face a hard life in that one in seven children live in poverty simply because their families are poor. Lack of education, bad governance, gender inequality, and food insecurity are some of the policy issues associated with poverty as a global healthcare issue. In order to address the issue of poverty in relation to its health implications, different countries around the world have come up with various strategies on the same. However, the success of these strategies depends on the role played by all key players concerned with the problem. This includes the role of governments, individual citizens and international organizations.

Description of Poverty and How it is Measured

Different groups of people use different terms in defining poverty. Economists normally define poverty in terms of income. Income poverty is said to be in existence when the family income fails to meet the international threshold. The international threshold for extreme poverty is based on living on less than 1$ a day (Chen & Ravallion, 2008). Typically, income poverty is measured with respect to families rather than individuals.

Poverty is a global healthcare issue which has a great influence on human health. Poor people around the world are exposed to both personal and environmental health risks. These people lack access to healthcare services, food, clean water and healthcare information. Generally, poverty is associated with high infant mortality, poor reproductive health, low life expectancy, high incidences of infectious and non-communicable diseases, depression, increased cases of suicide and high exposure to environmental health risks.

Canada and the United States are some of the wealthiest countries of the world. However, it needs to be pointed out that the countries have a large portion of a poor population. Although the poverty rate of the United States declined during the 1990s as a result of a strong economy, statistics show that more than 32 million people lived below the poverty line in the year 1999. According to the 2012 U.S. Census of Bureau, more than 16% of the population of the United States lived in poverty. The problem of poverty in the United States is more alarming due to the fact that it is a burden to the vulnerable populations. These include the black Americans and the Hispanics

Poverty is one of the causes of the high mortality rate among young children in poor countries. Due to poverty, some parents are not able to afford routine vaccination for their children. In other cases, some children may not be immunized due to the illiteracy of their mothers who fail to receive information about free vaccination programs. Lack of immunization leads to high mortality rates since it exposes children to acute respiratory diseases, diarrhea and congenital anomalies.

How child and family poverty measured as per the report cards

The first report card

Poverty in children is measured by the number of meals a child has in a day, if at least one meal has meat, or fruits a day. The ability of the parents to buy the children books can be used to measure poverty or the leisure times the child has in different countries has been used to measure poverty rates. How the children have opportunities to celebrate occasions like birthdays differ in different countries depending on the poverty levels. The clothing of children also differs in different countries depending on the same.

The second report card

The report cards have projected different picture of child poverty in the top richest countries in the world. Life expectancy is one of the most important indicators of health. People in wealthy nations tend to live longer since they are able to maintain their health. In contrast, people in poor nations die at a young age since they cannot afford to maintain their health. For example, life expectancy in Japan is 87 years. In Swaziland, life expectancy is only 32 years. Poor countries are associated with poor reproductive health. Most parents in these countries are normally reluctant to embrace birth control. High reproductive rates reduce family earnings and it tends to constrain family investments.

The child poverty rate indicates the well being of the society at large. According to the first report  Canada’s poverty rates are measured by LICO (low income cut off) in which it is a relative measure of poverty in which a family ought to top spend 20% of their earnings in basic need like food shelter and clothing. Another tool for measuring poverty is LIM (low income measure) which considers a family to be poor when the annual income falls below the median threshold of 50%. The MBM (market basket measure) also measures poverty rate in Canada. This is set by estimating the cost of purchasing of goods and services in which a family is considered to be low income if it does not have the income to make their ends meet.

Canada Child Poverty Rates over Time

The graph show that more children were living in poverty in 2010 than they were in 1989 which calls for federal action. The reprt recommends that public policies intervene to support children,s health, growth and development as soon as possible.

Reasons for Different Poverty Levels in the Rich Countries-second report

The main difference between poverty levels in the rich countries is the median levels of the countries in which a country may be rich but have a high child poverty rate than less rich country. The child deprivation table uses fixed measures for all the countries under study. Relative poverty is not real poverty since real poverty means the child lacks the basics. Socio-cultural beliefs about the roles of men and women partly contribute to this kind of inequality. For instance, in many rural villages of the world, women are confined within the domestic sphere of influence. They perform domestic chores such as washing, cooking and taking care of their children. This reduces their chances of getting to the public sphere and engaging in more profitable tasks. Yet the domestic work they do is unpaid for. As a result, they remain poor. In contrast, men are free to engage in salaried employments. This puts them in a better position of improving their living standards, unlike in the case of women.

What each of the report cards recommend be done to reduce child and family poverty

            The first report card recommends a national anti poverty strategy in which the federal government will get in and help eradicate poverty. The federal government ought to be well coordinated to set goals to eradicate poverty which will be good for Canada’s future. They should also address the growing income inequality and restore fairness to the taxation system. Comparative research suggests that benefits in tax have a significant role to play in reducing child and family poverty. Government spending on children ought to be priotised and must be protected in difficult economic times. The report also recommends public investment as a way to eradicate poverty in Canada.

Income to workers ought to fair so that they can sustain themselves. This is so since income inequality has been the cause of family poverty due to the growing gap between the rich and poor. The country should make use of the unused potential in the aboriginal children and families. Quality childcare should ensure that all young children have the best opportunity to succeed. Women equality ought to be supported and parents should be allowed to work to support their families. It should also allow Canada to meet its human rights obligations to children and women. The report also recommends the introduction of stable and affordable housing which will enhance the well being of the people. Education for the youth is also essential.

Second report

The second report discusses the latest internationally comparable data on child deprivation and relative child poverty. The second report advocates use of international, bodies to cooperate and eradicate poverty in the world. They should educate societies oh how to live well and eradicate poverty in their respective countries. It recommends when the comparisons are taken together they should offer the best picture on child poverty across the world’s wealthiest nations. The poverty gap ought to be reduced to eradicate poverty across the world. The report sets out the latest internationally comparable data on child poverty as measured by rates of child deprivation and relative child income.

The Four Main Things Learned from Reading the Report Cards

The poverty rate in children and families is an  issue associated with various policy issues. These include governance, gender inequality, education, and food security and nutrition. Any country’s well-being depends on the type of governance that the country has put in place. It is through good governance that policy priority choices and decisions are implemented.

Governance in this sense entails the exercise of political, economic and administrative powers in order to conduct public affairs and effective management of national resources. Good governance is associated with positive social and economic outcomes. It promotes improved living conditions for the well being of the members of the society. As a result, poverty levels go down. In contrast, bad governance increases poverty levels in the society.

Bad governance encourages corruption, nepotism, abuse of power and misuse of limited public resources. This way, bad governance reduces a government’s capacity to provide quality services to the poor in the society. To address the issue of poverty in relation to its health implications, different countries around the world have come up with various strategies on the same.



Chen, S. & Ravallion, M. (2008). The Developing World is Poorer than We Thought, But No Less Successful in the Fight Against Poverty Georgetown University. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, No. 4703. Retrieved on May 13, 2013 from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1259575

The two report cards



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