Segments in this Video

Poverty: America's 51st State (03:49)


This segment exposes the problems of poverty for children, the elderly, the homeless, single-parent families, and America’s middle class living on credit.

Generational Poverty in America (06:53)

Poverty begets poverty in generations of families whether Native American, Hispanic, African American, or white Appalachians. Poverty creates a mindset that keeps families in poverty.

Characteristics of Generational Poverty (05:34)

Families in generational poverty are often of large size because more people means more money and more people to take care of aging parents. Parents fear that education may cause their children to leave.

Language Challenges for Children in Poverty (02:59)

Children of privilege have 1200-1600-word vocabularies, while poor children have only 400-800 word vocabularies. Poor children are often unable to link language with abstract constructs.

Unpredictable Lifestyles of the Poor (03:47)

In the Appalachians of West Virginia, poor women usually run the home. Men and non-family household members come and go, creating an unpredictable lifestyle that is centered on survival in the moment.

Money is Not the Answer to Generational Poverty (02:33)

Money will not break the pattern of generational poverty unless it breaks the poverty mindset. To the generational poor, money is only about survival, relationships, and entertainment.

Employment and the Generational Poor (02:46)

Generational poor have no concept of future or careers--work is about daily survival. These people live on the "informal economy" of unskilled, manual labor with no financial security.

Unemployment in Appalachia (03:40)

Most of Appalachia's rural people rely on non-agricultural industries, which are in decline, causing many people to leave. As coal mining diminished, and manufacturing shifted to service industries, most of the poor cannot adapt.

Culture of Poverty (03:44)

The culture of poverty is instilled in poor children at such an early age that little can be done to change the mentality. Welfare and SSI are the only source of income, and many learn to "work the system."

Underclass: Jobless and Undereducated (03:53)

The "underclass" consists of the jobless and the under-educated who have no chance of upward mobility. Underdeveloped cognitive skills are linked to high dropout rates, teen pregnancies, and unemployment.

Reproductive Underclass (02:17)

Young women in poverty often bear children, yet have no resources to raise them. Testimony from students and mothers reveal how few options are open to the "reproductive underclass."

Children in Generational Poverty (05:15)

Children in generational poverty lack the social capital to break the cycle. They see little or no connection between school and their futures. Poor children often have access only to the nation's poorest schools.

Breaking the Cycle of Generational Poverty (04:26)

High poverty rates are linked to low levels of education, leading to low-wage jobs and subsistence living, which perpetuate the cycle. Policy makers must move to disrupt generational poverty.

Structural Aspects of Poverty (02:00)

Effort and motivation are necessary to break the shackles of poverty, but do the poor have roots in effort and motivation? Schools must become resources to break the cycle of poverty.

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Born with a Wooden Spoon: Welcome to Poverty U.S.A.

Part of the Series : Poverty in America (6 Parts)
DVD Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The United States continues to be the wealthiest country in the world, yet one in eight Americans—approximately 37 million people—live below the poverty line. This program analytically and sympathetically discusses the effects and implications of poverty, examining factors such as illiteracy, insufficient job skills, substance abuse, and crime. The phenomenon of multigenerational poverty is also addressed, underscoring the disturbing pattern of poverty begetting poverty. Interviews with impoverished people and those who reach out to them put a human face on a demographic group that lives below the radar of wealthy and middle-class Americans. A part of the series Poverty in America. (Original series title: The 51st State.) (59 minutes)

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL36501

ISBN: 978-1-4213-6032-4

Copyright date: ©2006

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.