Young Lives defines poverty as multidimensional in both its causes and its consequences. Access to material assets and resources are at the root of poverty, but poverty is about more than money alone. Poverty is also about access to basic services, to an adequate, nutritious diet, and being able to participate in society. Poorer households typically experience more adverse events, such as family ill-health, or environmental shocks, than richer households yet are less likely to have the capacity to withstand shocks without negative impacts on children. Children’s development covers different dimensions—from nutrition and health to cognition, learning and subjective wellbeing. These are interdependent and thus influence each other. This means that deprivations can have cumulative effect. So, poverty during childhood affects children’s daily lives as well as their lifelong outcomes. In this way, childhood poverty also undermines the wellbeing of subsequent generations.
Macro-economic growth is associated with increased access to basic infrastructure and services.
But poorer children experience less access and lower quality services than their better off peers.
Poverty and repeated exposure to adverse events typically combine with disadvantage in individual caregivers to compound negative impacts on children’s nutrition, learning and psycho-social wellbeing.
Growing up poor is a risk for early school departure among boys and girls, and for early marriage and child-bearing in teenage girls.
Poverty and susceptibility to adverse events is higher among groups that are marginalised socially and politically because of their gender, ethnicity, mother tongue, location or caste. The poorest children and households they experience both economic and social exclusion.
- Inequalities in children’s development originate in multiple disadvantages with compounding effects on children’s long-term outcomes.
- Gender differences are shaped by social norms and economic prospects.
- Inequalities open up during middle and later childhood so that gender become more significant as children get older - but boys are not always more advantaged.
- Children’s subjective wellbeing is both and indicator of inequality and a channel for the transmission of poverty.
- Well-designed and implemented social protection programmes reduce disadvantage. But they need to attend to the impacts on children.