How Are Children in Poverty More Vulnerable than Adults?

UNICEF reports, “Children are more likely to live in poverty than adults. They’re also more vulnerable to its effects.”[1] Children in poverty are impactedly differently than adults. Why is this? There are several factors to consider:

  • Poverty can stunt children’s growth and hinder their social and emotional development.[2] Physical challenges often accompany poverty, such as unhealthy nutrition, unsafe habits, low birthrate, tooth decay, unintentional injuries and poor general heath.[3]
  • The threat of child labor and human trafficking increases among poor children. Sometimes the threat comes from the parents when there is no other way to feed their family.[4] For example, if a family can not afford to feed all their children, they are tempted by the idea of sending one of their children off to work. This means one less mouth to feed and sometimes a little income coming in from an additional source. Child traffickers often prey on street children, orphans or those in poverty.
  • Children in poverty have educational challenges as well. Kids are often called away from school to work, which leaves them without literacy and numeracy skills.[5] With low income, families may not be able to afford tuition or supplies and instead resort to child labor.
  • Children who grow up in poverty often suffer from a lack of hope and the ability to dream of the future.[6] It is not uncommon for children in poverty to not have an answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Until an outside force teaches a child how to dream and hope, they won’t know the possibility of life outside their current circumstances.

GFA World is a hope-delivering organization. We work with children in South Asia and parts of Africa to help relieve the financial pressure on families. For example, when children are enrolled in GFA’s Child Sponsorship Program, they are provided with helpful items like nutritious food, hygiene supplies, clean water, school tuition and supplies and more. All this is provided in the name of Jesus.

Learn more about child poverty

[1] “Child Poverty.” UNICEF. https://www.unicef.org/social-policy/child-poverty. Accessed November 23, 2022.
[2] Amato, Erin. “How Poverty Stunts a Growing Brain.” https://www.wilsonquarterly.com/quarterly/_/how-poverty-stunts-a-growing-brain. Accessed November 23, 2022.
[3] “Child Poverty Overview.” Public Health Scotland. https://www.healthscotland.scot/population-groups/children/child-poverty/child-poverty-overview/impact-of-child-poverty. Accessed November 23, 2022.
[4] Naeem Z, Shaukat F, Ahmed Z. “Child labor in relation to poverty.” International Journal of Health Sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3533357/. Accessed November 23, 2022.
[5] “Poverty and Education.” Child Fund. https://www.childfund.org/poverty-and-education/. Accessed November 23, 2022.
[6] “What is Child Poverty?” Compassion. https://www.compassion.com/poverty/child-poverty.htm. Accessed November 23, 2022.
* Cover Photo: “United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda.” United Nations. https://www.flickr.com/photos/un_photo/17430964385/. May 8, 2015.