We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Cycle of Poverty?

By Melissa Barrett
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At SmartCapitalMind, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Often, children born into poverty grow to live their adult lives in poverty as well. Lack of proper nutrition, poor health care, absence of quality education, and limited employment prospects are all factors in the cycle of poverty. As these children tend to be geographically gathered in areas of financial depression, this lack of services and opportunities frequently affects entire communities.

For many children, the cycle of poverty begins even before birth. Poor access to prenatal care means higher maternal and infant mortality rates. In impoverished areas, poor prenatal nutrition and untreated maternal medical issues lead to smaller, less developed babies. The chances of physical and intellectual birth defects are also higher.

Unfortunately, babies who lacked proper nutrition and medical care in the womb rarely fare better after they are born. Lacking access to nutritious food, these children fall farther behind in growth and brain development. Without immunizations and regular medical care, these children, already weakened by malnutrition, can fall victim to a host of contagious diseases. The children who survive are further weakened by these experiences.

The cycle of poverty is perpetuated as developmentally delayed children enter schools that are woefully inadequate. Generally, impoverished communities have poorly funded educational systems. Without the money to hire quality teachers in sufficient numbers, these schools are often unable to provide even basic education. The textbooks and computer equipment needed to prepare students for college may be simply unobtainable.

Higher education may be unrealistic for children caught in the cycle of poverty. Without the skills children in more affluent areas develop, these children rarely leave the areas where they grew up. As time progresses, the cycle repeats itself until the community, as a whole, is uneducated. The lack of skilled workers makes new industry within the area unattractive to businesses. No new jobs are created, and thus, no finances are available for community improvement.

In theory, the cycle of poverty could be broken at any stage of its development. In practice, however, economic intervention programs have had limited success. The introduction of nutritional education and maternal health programs into economically disadvantaged areas, for example, has reduced maternal and infant mortality. These programs have also improved childhood health. Unfortunately, this improvement in health has had a barely negligible impact on whether these children will stay impoverished as adults.

Many opponents of social welfare programs attribute the failure of interventions to the culture of poverty. This phrase was first coined by the anthropologist Oscar Lewis in the 1950s. Lewis believed that poverty was a highly developed subculture, complete with its own norms and ethics. As such, he believed that children raised in the cultures were psychologically incapable of imagining a different existence.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

SmartCapitalMind, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

SmartCapitalMind, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.