Impact of Poverty on Children in India

Poverty affects many people. But, arguably, the effects of poverty are seen most in children. And, with 1.21 billion people living below the poverty line in India, the children are sure to bear the repercussions of it. Not only does poverty affect a child’s development and educational outcomes, it also severely affects

a child’s morality and understanding of the right and wrong, as they are denied access to the basic fundamental rights of children laid down in the Constitution of India.

That being said, here are six bee stings of poverty, that according to Professor Charles Karelis, Colgate University, are sure to affect the children in India:

Child Development

Often associated to food insecurity, children living below the poverty line are at an increased risk for becoming both malnourished and overweight. This can highly affect a child’s confidence. Moreover, evidence suggests that many of the effects of poverty on children are often added to by their families. As they have limited education, it reduces their ability to provide a responsive stimulating environment for their children. They tend to limit a child’s linguistic environment by using a language that is dominated by commands, instead of explanations and elaboration on what is good and bad. Mostly, these commands are also backed by negative comments, which further contribute to demoralising the child. In addition, parents living below the poverty line tend to use harsh parental styles that are based on parental control, rather than reciprocal interactive styles that promote emotional development.


Education begins at home. In fact, many studies suggest that, being read to in the first few years of a child’s life contributes to the development of phonemic and comprehension skills. However, children from families living below the poverty line are less likely to be read to, highly restricting proper growth of their skills. Moreover, parents who have not received a proper education tend to underestimate the importance of education, are hesitant to ‘waste’ money on schools. And, even those children that do attend schools have to face taunts and are often treated as outcastes as the present generation children do not accept anyone if they are not from their strata of the society.

Moral Values

Malnutrition, taunting and not getting basic necessities can be daunting enough for any child, a situation which easily becomes a turning point in their life. Moreover, with peer pressure and wanting what others have, their sole aim of life would be achieving financial success, no matter what the means. The end result becomes more important to them than the path they choose. This, in turn, results in them resorting to joining the antisocial and unlawful elements of our society. In addition, a child who has been bearing the consequences of long term poverty, is bound to think that it is important to be in power and have a good status to command respect of the society. This leads to resorting to crooked means to achieve the status and power desired.

But, all is not lost. India is battling poverty for nearly 60 years now. And, with the help of new policies that strive to empower and spread awareness about the fundamental rights of children, along with participation and activities initiated by CRY – Child Rights and You, the children of India are sure to see a better future. However, we can’t do this alone. As citizens of India, you too can help these children by donating or participating in our numerous activities and workshops that we conduct to spread awareness and help these children. After all, children are great imitators. So, give them something great to imitate!

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