Family Life and Poverty - A Reason to Stand in the Gap

As part of our theme for 2018, #StandInTheGap, once a month our blog will feature guest commentary from a member of the board of directors of The One Less Foundation, highlighting an aspect of poverty, and why they are choosing to be an active participant in the work to end poverty and the importance for them to stand in the gap for those in underserved communities. This month's commentary is from Director, Alan Vergel de Dios. 

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For this month, I wanted to highlight the effects of poverty on family life and how that can translate into more poverty and hardships down the road. Even for a household of average or above average wealth, raising a family and putting food on the table is a stressful endeavor. Education, bills, extracurriculars, travel etc. will inevitably strain relationships and present adversities. When a household must go through those every day struggles with poverty-level income and provide for one’s family, the problems are only intensified that much more. As such, poverty-stricken families are much more likely to be afflicted by divorce and domestic violence.

According to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics, the strongest leading indicator for divorce rates is income level. For households with an income less than $25,000 compared to households with an income greater than $50,000, the lower income marriage divorce rate was higher by 30 percentage points. Divorce and single-parent households pose significant issues both to the children and society as a whole. Roughly 60% of US children living in mother-only families are impoverished, compared with only 11% of two-parent families. Rising childcare costs and stagnant wage growth have made raising children in a single-parent home much more difficult than in the past. Additionally, children in single-parent homes are much less likely to obtain a college degree. Thus, poverty in essence creates a vicious cycle: a poverty-stricken family endures added stress to everyday problems, which then leads to a higher likelihood of divorce, and ultimately ends with a child being raised in a single-parent home, fighting an uphill battle to overcome further adversity and poverty.

If we want to help put an end to this cycle, we have to #StandInTheGap and do something to help those around us. Think about all the hardships and difficulties that you have had to overcome in the past and now imagine having to do that with a fraction of the income. By volunteering or donating to a good cause, you can help more families stay together and help those in your community get one step closer to a way out.

Alan Vergel de Dios,

Member, Board of Directors