Large Families Equal Poverty


There is a Strict Correlation Between Poverty and Large Families

Joseph Rowntree, a sociologist and president of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, , asserted that the rate of poverty is vastly greater in large families(6 or more children per household) than it is in small families(1-2 children per household). Betty Cockrum, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, purported that poverty is more likely to occur in large families than in small families. Jonathan Bradshaw, a professor of Social Policy, further substantiated that the poverty risk in children from large families is more than twice that of children from small families.

Daniel R. Meyer, Professor of Social Work, and Geoffrey L. Wallace, Associate Professor of Public Affairs and Economics, both of the University of Wisconsin, concurred that poverty is rife in large families because there are less financial resources allotted per child than it is in small families where there are more financial resources allotted per child. In a magazine article in THE OBSERVER, it maintained that small families are the key in the reduction of child poverty. This is because in large families, there are more mouths to feed and there are very few financial resources to do so.

Of course, these statements are true. It is common knowledge that in large families, there are more children per household than there are monies to be allotted. In large families, financial and economic resources are stretched to the limit. Parents of large families are in a constant struggle to provide for their large number of children which they often are unable to do.

As a result of having very little financial and economic resources allotted per each child in large families, children learn to do without certain necessities in order to make ends meet. Life in large families are often a very tenuous and arduous struggle for just mere survival. In large families, parents are barely ekeing out a decent living for their families as it is near to impossible to adequate support a large number of children. Large families have a very low standard of living-just living at a minimally subsistence level.

Children in large families frequently do not receive medical care as their parents could ill afford such care. Oftentimes, the only medical care children from large families received is school sponsored medical care. If there was no school sponsored medical care available, they would receive no type of medical care.

They are also malnourished because their parents cannot afford to purchase fresh and nutritional foods as they are too costly. Children from large families do not receive the proper proteins and vitamins in their diets. They often subsist on powdered, processed, and canned foods which often do not provide basic nutritional value. The average parent of a large families find it extremely difficult to adequately feed their children. .

Children from large families live at a barely subsistence level and below. Their lives are a series of economic struggles and living from day to day. As a result of impoverished socioeconomic conditions, they develop strong survival instincts. They also develop a harshly cynical view of the world, believing it to be a harsh and unwelcoming place to be. They also develop a fight response, thinking that it is either them or the environment. The average child from a large family is usually devoid of refinement and empathy because of the tenuous environment which they grew up in. Children from large families can be described as street/life savvy and rough around the edges.

There is a direct correlation between impoverishment, large family size, and its relation to juvenile delinquency. Children from large families often gravitate towards delinquent activities because their home lives are so miserable that they steal and/or commit other egregious acts as a defense mechanism to deflate from their impoverished surroundings. When I was in high school, a friend of mine who attended public school, stated that there was a gang of girls from impoverished large families who regularly shook down and bullied more affluent classmates for lunch monies because they did not have any monies.

The average large family unit often must depend upon outside assistance in order to stay afloat. This assistance is often through charitable agencies, more affluent relatives, and donations from strangers. As a result of impoverishment, many people who grew up in large families develop a poverty consciousness. They only believe in living at a mere subsistence level and do not yearn for a more socioeconomic affluent way of living. They are inundated through their familial environment not to aspire to a higher standard of living, being content to remain and live in poverty throughout their lives.

It has been documented forever that poverty has a disastrous and deleterious effect on children. Furthermore, psychologists further documented and authenticated that children from large families are usually low academic achievers. Of course, this is the result of the double variables of poverty and large family size.

Parents of large families do not have the emotional resources to devote to each child. Furthermore, there is little financial resources in large families. Everything is stretched to the limit. There is hardly any money allotted in large families to purchase necessities, let alone educational and intellectual paraphernalia that would assist a child to be a high academic achiever. Children in large families do not have educational and intellectual materials in their home as children growing up in small families do.

As a result of the abovementioned factors, children from large families are at an extreme disadvantage when they start school. They have a lack of academic preparedness which manifiests itself in lower levels of reading, language, and math skills. Furthermore, because of the impoverishment which is prevalent in large families, education and academic achievement are not encouraged.

Parents of large families do not put an emphasis on education for their children that parents of small families do. Children from large families usually do not complete their education because their parents need them to contribute to the family income. They are often lucky if they complete their secondary education. Seldom do children from large families attend college and beyond. This means that they are locked in the cycle of poverty as their parents are with no hope of getting out. As you see, the main emphasis of large families is pure survival and nothing else.

To summarize, sociologists and social scientists concur that poverty is greater in large families than it is small families. This is because there is less monies available than the number of children. Living standards are the lowest in large families for the same reasons-fewer economic resources in relation to the large number of children in the same household.

Children in large families often are malnourished and receive little or no medical care. Many of them do have school sponsored medical care which is fortunate. If not, many children from large families would receive no type of medical care as their parents could ill afford it.

As a result of growing up impoverished, children from large families have developed a mindset of believing that the world is a harsh place. They also develop a very keen sense of survivalism and a very aggressive mentality. Because of their impoverishment, many children from large families are often drawn into delinquent and related activities. They do not to act out against their impoverished home environment.

Impoverishment and large families also present a severe disadvantage when these children start school. Children from large families usually poor school preparedness which translates in low reading, language, and math skills. Because of impoverishment, children from large families often do not complete their education as they are needed to contribute to their family income. As a result of the lack of education, children of large families have no hope of ever getting out of poverty. The life of the large family is a life of poverty. Only education regarding contraception will change this. The saying that small families live better is truism.

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Comments 13 comments

brages07 profile image

brages07 5 years ago from South Royalton, VT

Great hub. Another key component in poverty is the actions of the ownership class. I am always amazed that they cut employee pay and benefits for the last thirty years, as well as laid off employees and outsourced jobs. Then when the issue of social spending comes up, they say that people should just take care of themselves. I cannot even come up with a good analogy for that disconnect. the best I can come up with is that it is like slashing your own tires then filing a police report. I am reminded of what Ralph Nader said while promoting his most recent book. He said that charity and social programs are nice, but why don't we just have a fairer society in the first place? While large families have less to go around, we need to look at the social system as well.

gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

You made some great points, brages07.

MsHoneyGraham profile image

MsHoneyGraham 5 years ago from Borington,North Carolina-I mean Warrenton, North Carolina

I am the oldest of five children raised in the South. The five of us have never been to prison or been in any trouble with the authorities. My MARRIED parents raised us in a household where they instilled in us to be productive citizens, cultured, and mannerable. Yes, I guess that there was some struggle, but I am unaware of the extent of what it really was. As a family, we loved each other. I never blamed my parents for the have-nots. Although, it taught me that I have to work hard for the things that I want and appreciate the things that I have, always being thankful that my basic needs were met. My father was an educator and he worked for Public Radio and a local tv sports announcer, my mother was a stay at home mom, who occasionally worked when she and my father were in a pinch. She was always there for us, we were never latchkey kids or waiting around to have dinner at a neighbors because of a lack of food. My siblings and I grew up to be productive citizens. Not everyone from a large family is destined to live in poverty forever or be a criminal. My parents exposed us to the humanities. We met people of different cultures and experienced things that others I knew who grew up in depressed Warren County,NC never had the chance to appreciate. I will never,ever regret any part of my childhood and growing up in a large family.

gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Thank you for stopping by. Of course, not all large families are impoverished as evidenced by your family. Your family of origin is considered to be middle class socioeconomically. You are indeed very Blessed and fortunate.

However, the average large family is classified as impoverished with all its associative pathologies. Let us not digress. Thank you again for stopping by and I have enjoyed your input into the matter.

MsHoneyGraham profile image

MsHoneyGraham 5 years ago from Borington,North Carolina-I mean Warrenton, North Carolina

You're welcome. I enjoy reading ideas from your perspective. Your hubs are informational and they should really make people more consciouse about the family and themselves.

jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

Great hub which I enjoyed reading. You make some pretty valid points here. I remember in my childhood living in the same street as a woman who had 12 children! They were very poor and often had to wear hand me downs. I often wondered how she could possibly give equal attention to each child, aside from the fact that they clearly struggled financially. I come from a family consisting of just my brother and I. Of course, there are exceptions, but on the whole, I agree with you that large families are often impoverished and don't have the same opportunities that children from smaller families have.

gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To jacqui2011: Thank you for your intelligent response. I have known this for a long time. Large families, in the overwhelming majority of cases, equals poverty. It is just simple mathematical logistics. The more children per household, the less there is to go around! Simple logic indeed!

I attended school with children from large families and a logical and intelligent person could clearly tell the differences. They were poor, wore hand me downs, and were not self substaining. One girl from such a family always asked us more affluent children to loan her notebbook paper and pencils which she "neglected" to return. Yes, children from large families are born into poverty and often end up in direr situations than children from small families do! I greatly appreciate your response and you are ALWAYS welcome to stop by!

paxwill profile image

paxwill 4 years ago from France

In the US and Canada at least, having large families also correlates strongly with religiosity, particularly the more fundamentalist branches of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

In such families, children are brought up to believe that scholastic achievement is secondary to religious study and obedience to God, which may also explain why children from large families tend to do worse in school on average.

Of course, there are always exceptions, but in my life I have never encountered any large families (7+ kids) that were non-religious.

gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To paxwill: What you have stated is very true. Many large families are extremely traditionally religious. Let me correct that-an overwhelming majority of large families fit that category. I appreciate your comments which will add to the discussion. Many of the large families I have also encountered are extremely traditionally religious. My mother came from an extremely, religiously fundamentalist family of ten children. Her father was a minister and there was bible study ad infinitum. She and many of her siblings are intensely religious to this day. She believed that religion was the be and end all. Yes, the large family culture is divergently different from that of the small family culture.

This explains why children from large families are oftentimes more conservative in areas such as contraception, abortion, and women's issues in general. Daughers in large families are raised to be submissive to the male figure and are taught to be second class citizens because they are female. Many people from large families are also extremely pro-life and are anti-abortion and anti-birth conrol. You have presented some excellent points. Thank you for stopping by and adding to the discussion.

Amanda Roddy profile image

Amanda Roddy 3 years ago

Though I'm not childless by choice, it amazes how people try justifying having large families. 5 or 6 kids isn't large by no means but larger than normal. The preacher who married DH and I had 5 kids and they are a rare breed. You never hear of them getting in trouble. Most of them are in their 20s now. Staying away from criminal activity has more to with environemnt. I can see where kids who are sheltered in extremelyrelgious households can turn to the bad side. I have seen this myself. They have no connection to real life. Then add gobs of kids-not a good combination. I led a sheltred life myself-not Fundamentalist- my mother worked outside the home and I have one brother. I think I adapted better being from a smaller fmaily. I went to college for a while. We weren't rich by no means but had more opportunities that would be impossible in a larger family.

saif113sb profile image

saif113sb 3 years ago

very very informative hub.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

You are quite welcome indeed.

LR 2 years ago

@paxwill-Muslims indeed have large families and are clannish.

@gmwilliams-Sons are raised to be dominant and superior over the female figure so that way they protect themselves from being dumped on.

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