Education Holds the Key to Unlocking the Cycle of Poverty
A majority of low-income households have parents without a degree – an obstacle to obtaining high paying jobs.
Ten million children in the United States are living in households that struggle to meet everyday expenses. Almost half of these low-income families are headed by single parents, according to a report by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which believes early childhood education and job training for parents will help lift these families out of poverty.
“For too long, our approach to poverty has focused separately on children and adults, instead of their interrelated needs,” says Patrick McCarthy, the foundation’s president and CEO. “We’ve learned a lot about what works in separate areas, but we’re not combining these lessons to break the cycle of poverty.”
Race or ethnicity play a role in economic status, but parents’ level of education and employment are also two contributing factors. When parents lack higher education, it decreases their chances of landing high paying jobs. Consequently, they settle for low wage jobs, often long working hours to provide for the little ones who depend on them. The reality sadly is one where these young kids grow up, following in their parents footsteps – continuing the cycle of poverty.
Breaking the cycle
The report emphasizes that collaboration between local businesses, churches and state agencies may help families break the vicious cycle of poverty. They also believe child care programs for parents and children will create better opportunities for the entire family.
“We hope this report will spark deep commitment in Washington and in board rooms across the country to remove the obstacles that prevent millions of families from putting their kids on a path to success,” McCarthy says.
While they call on Washington “to remove the obstacles that prevent millions of families from putting their kids on the path to success,” April Lewis-Parks, Financial Education Director of Consolidated Credit says teaching families how to deal and manages their finances is crucial in helping families rise out of poverty.
“Financial education should be at the root of the process,” Parks says. “In order for families to rise above that poverty line, they need to know how to manage their finances, how to make do with what little that they have without having to take on debt. Parents also need to involve kids in the budgeting process, teach their kids in their formative years, the importance of financial management and budgeting. Helping families is a wholesome process and every aspect needs to be covered.”
A good place to start the financial education process is with Consolidated Credit. Our Debt Learning Center has a wealth of free educational materials and budgeting tools. To start the money conversation with your kids, check out our budgeting for kids section. You may also dial in at to speak to one of our certified credit counselors. Or, to find out how much debt you’re in, take our free Debt and Budget Analysis online.