The family income affects a family’s standard of living. It allows the family to provide for their necessities and other things that the family may want to achieve optimum quality of life. However, not all families enjoy sufficient income. Lack of opportunities matched with high prices of commodities and the lack of information in terms of budgeting and exploiting additional income potentials can result to low family income. This wholly affects the way a family lives. Because the family is the most basic unit of the society, this affects public health and the quality of life in a community.
According to The Urban Institute, approximately 19 million children live within low-income families despite labor participation by at least one parent. (Low-income working families: Facts and figures, 2005) This shows that being employed alone does not resolve the problem of low-income families. This is because among low-income families, wages are low, opportunities are fewer, there are more expenses, and they receive fewer benefits. Effects of Low Income in Families and Communities Low-income households often lack resources to sufficiently answer their basic necessities.
This makes it even more difficult to secure little extras. Churilla (2006) asserts that families headed by young adults with young children in their care are in great risk of being low-income households. The same applies with single-mother families. The irony is that the likelihood of low-income families decrease with higher levels of educational attainment, yet education is often unattainable for low-income families because of the expenses entailed with it. Low-income households find it difficult to secure adequate housing for the family.
Food, clothing, and educational resources are also scarce. With these basic necessities unanswered, it is also conclusive that healthcare is sacrificed. The inadequacy can lead to low quality of life considering that there are fewer opportunities as well. Parents will have less chance to secure jobs that can uplift the family’s economic status. Children will also experience difficulties. According to Brooks-Gunn and Duncan (1997), children from poor families are more likely to experience health problems.
They develop slower than children from non-poor families, and may not do well in school. All of these affect the general public health and quality of life in a neighborhood. With parents and children in poverty, budget for welfare increases. This creates adjustments in other areas of a community budget. With health problems within the family, both for parents and children, the community is also experiencing fewer labor force participation. Sick parents cannot work. Children who are ill cannot go to school, and they may not be able to finish their studies as a result.
Because they do not have the money for a regular health check and maintenance, they cannot maximize their productivity to help their communities. Conclusion Public health and the quality of living is greatly influenced by family income. However, poverty is a cycle. Heads of low-income families do not have the opportunity that will uplift their lives. As an effect, they cannot secure their basic necessities or spend on the non-necessities. Health-wise, low-income families are beset with high medication and hospitalization costs.
Very few of them have social security to depend on. In terms of quality of life, members of low-income families cannot afford resources and programs that will develop their interests and capabilities. As an effect, low-income families cannot maximize their full potentials as productive members of the society. Public policy cannot help enough. Despite wage increases and additional welfare programs, rising costs and high labor-force competition still remains. In the end, cutting off the cycle of poverty can very well be the answer.
The question is which part of the cycle should be stopped first. References Brooks-Gunn, J. and Duncan, G. (1997). The effects of poverty on children. Retrieved October 12, 2008, from http://www. futureofchildren. org/usr_doc/vol7no2ART4. pdf Churilla, A. (2006). Low-income families in New Hampshire. Retrieved October 12, 2008, from http://www. carseyinstitute. unh. edu/publications/IB_lowincomeNH_06. pdf Low-income working families: Facts and figures. (2005). Retrieved October 11, 2008, from http://www. urban. org/UploadedPDF/900832. pdf