Segments in this Video

Welcome to Poverty, USA (03:01)


This segment explains the demographics of poverty in the U.S. with an accompanying montage of images that shows how the poorest Americans--1/3 of them children--are living.

Diversity of the Poor (02:09)

Most visible are the homeless and concentrated urban poverty. Less visible are the situationally poor, working poor, immigrants, the middle class who live on credit, the elderly and children.

16k for family of 3, one in six children live in poverty, more than 30 years ago and rising. (02:03)

Social economist, Alan Berube and Kathleen McCartney, Dr. J. Lawrence Aber says using a family self-sufficiency budget line, the figure is closer to 40%.

Out of Sight and Oversized (01:35)

Geographical boundaries divide neighborhoods, making the poor largely invisible to the middle and upper class. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of childhood poverty among industrialized nations.

Why a Poor Child? (02:54)

The U.S. relies on market solutions to social problems unlike most other industrialized countries. We learn about the gap between the nation's poorest and its wealthiest, something that seems to be acceptable to Americans and unique to the U.S.

The Many Faces of a Poor Child (02:41)

This segment offers an analysis of types of poverty, including transient and permanent poverty, and the effects of each type on a child's long-term prospects. We hear from parents of poor children.

The Many Races of a Poor Child (03:16)

Systematic racism over time is one variable that has prevented prosperity among ethnic groups in the U.S. By racial group, the poorest Americans are Native American, African American, Hispanic, white, and last (least poor) are Asian Americans. Stereotypes keep us from fully grasping the issue of poverty.

The Many Myths of a Poor Child (04:34)

Many Americans believe that "idleness" is the root cause of poverty. We learn that the working poor--who work full time, year round--do not earn a living wage. We hear from parents who access WIC and food banks to survive.

Suburban Legends of a Poor Child (02:14)

Child poverty is increasing in the suburbs. We hear about an aid organization that provides weekend meals for students to take home.

Poor Education + Poor Parent = Poor Child (01:24)

Parents who don't complete high school are less likely to escape poverty and teen parents are more likely to turn to the welfare system at some point. We hear from parents who did not complete high school.

Fractured Families, Failing Finances -1 (05:55)

The biggest predictors of poverty are education and family structure. Single mothers are disproportionately poor. Quality childcare--or lack thereof--greatly influences learning outcomes. Is it fair for the government to support the poor who choose to have children?

Single Parenthood, a Red Herring? (03:05)

One expert says more than a 1/3 are two parent familys and

Abuse & Poverty (01:42)

We hear a discussion of abuse as a factor in poverty. Foster care homes are generally lower income. Many children run away from foster homes and end up on the street.

Unhealthy "Benefits" (05:23)

Inadequate diet and healthcare result in higher incidence of infectious diseases, stunted cognitive development and higher infant mortality. This segment provides a detailed description of each and we hear from poor families.

Parenting of a Poor Child (05:43)

This segment analyzes parenting in the context of poverty, explaining how the inability to buy adequate living space, material learning resources and nutritious foods, combined with poverty-related stress limits psycho-social and cognitive development.

Risky Environment of a Poor Child (03:53)

Experts describe the cumulative and interactive effects of environmental toxins and physically dangerous environments on child development. The duration, intensity and timing of living in these environments have a measurable effect on outcomes.

Cognitive Development of the Poor Child (03:03)

Experts describe how living in poverty thwarts cognitive, emotional and social development of children. Topics include learning issues such as specificity of language and lack of resources for mental health issues that can result from impoverished circumstances.

Educational Development of a Poor Child (02:38)

We learn that home schooling, private school, after school care programs and other potentially enriching resources are inaccessible to poor children and that this results in worse outcomes at every level--and a repeating cycle of impoverishment.

Shackles of a Poor Child (04:12)

Research shows there is little mobility among income levels. American policy making is guided by the romance of the "rags to riches" story rather than the reality of how probable it is that one can escape poverty. The poor are blamed for their own situation.

Unshackling a Poor Child (03:40)

Experts explain that domestic policies in education, transportation and wages are needed to lift families out of poverty. Such policies would benefit the entire country, particularly the Social Security system and benefits for the elderly.

Employment Policies Impacting a Poor Child (03:48)

America's double-standard supports keeping middle, but not working class, mothers at home. "Welfare to work" needs to come with a living wage. The minimum wage has less buying power now than in the 1970s.

Intervention Needed to Lift Up a Poor Child (04:00)

Experts discuss natural, direct, and research interventions to increase support for poor families. Parents may not know how to access available programs.

Educational Intervention to Lift Up a Poor Child (04:24)

Education is a major pathway out of poverty. Poor children go to poor schools. Education is one of the most equalizing forces in America; policy to make quality education available to poor children is critical.

Early Childhood Intervention to Lift Up a Poor Child (03:36)

We need public policy to support 0-5 (preschool) education. Research proves that targeted programs such as Head Start help at-risk children prepare for success by supporting social, emotional, language and cognitive development.

Pay Less Now for Childcare or Pay More Later for Adult Care (03:01)

An experts explains that if Americans had a better understanding of the consequences of poor childcare, we would be more willing to pay for that in a market system. Children who grow up in poverty need additional government support later in life--examples include incarceration and teen pregnancy.

Poor Children Speak (00:52)

Poor children tell their hopes for the future.

Credits: What Poor Child Is This? Poverty and America's Children (02:00)

Credits: What Poor Child Is This? Poverty and America's Children

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What Poor Child Is This? Poverty and America's Children

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



If poverty is a serpent, child poverty is its venom. And with an estimated 12 million American children suffering from economic hardship, even the wealthiest society on Earth cannot escape the poisonous effects of poverty. This program examines child poverty in the U.S.: its causes, its agents, and its human impact. Citing facts and findings that contradict the American ethos of upward mobility, the film lays bare the sad reality of what financial deprivation is doing to the nation’s young people: eroding family bonds, decreasing literacy, increasing health and addiction risks, raising the specter of mental illness, and putting children disturbingly close to criminal influences. Lack of school readiness (preparation for kindergarten) and poor academic achievement are also examined as factors in the perpetuation of the poverty cycle. A part of the series Poverty in America. (Original series title: The 51st State.) (86 minutes)

Length: 86 minutes

Item#: BVL48031

ISBN: 978-1-62102-664-8

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.