With multifaceted causes and consequences of poverty, researchers continue to unravel new information that religious groups and social service agencies can utilize to help the poor. Here are five facts about poverty that may surprise you.
Poverty Hurts Your Ability to Think
One of the reasons people in poverty have difficulty escaping poverty is that poverty itself taxes the brain. Research published last August in the journal Science demonstrated that poverty reduces cognitive function by about 13 IQ points. more >>
The best predictor of whether or not a child born into poverty will be able to escape poverty is the number of single parents living in the community they grew up in, a new study by Harvard researchers finds. Other factors include class and racial segregation, income inequality, school quality and social capital.
Copious studies have long shown that marriage helps families leave and stay out of poverty. What is most interesting, though, about the new study by Harvard economists Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren and Patrick Kline, and Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez is that it is a community-level analysis.
This means that poor children who live in communities with a large proportion of single parents are more likely to remain poor even when they are raised by their married mother and father. Or, another way of saying the same thing, poor children who are raised by a single parent but live in a community where most children are raised by both parents are more likely to escape poverty. more >>
The 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as those in the bottom half of the wealth distribution, according to a new report published Monday by Oxfam highlighting the increasing wealth inequality around the world.
Among the report's other findings:One percent of the world's population owns about $110 trillion, or about half of the world's wealth, which is 65 times the total wealth of those on the bottom half of the wealth distribution. Seventy percent of the global population live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years. The richest one percent increased their share of income between 1980 and 2012 in 24 out of the 26 countries where the data is available. And during the Barack Obama presidency in the United States, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of the post-financial-crisis growth crisis while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.
The authors of the report argue that economic inequality can be beneficial, but extreme economic inequality, like that found by the study, can be damaging. more >>
Tony Campolo, conservative Christian preacher and influential social activist, has announced his intent to retire from the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (EAPE) in June after nearly 40 years of impacting the lives of at-risk youth in the U.S. and abroad.
"Next month I will be 79 years old, and this decision will allow me to retire gracefully as president of EAPE," Campolo shared with supporters in a newsletter this week. "After June 30, 2014, I will go on preaching and teaching from my base at Eastern University. The president of Eastern, Dr. Robert Duffett, has agreed to provide me with the assistance and office space I need to continue the work that I believe God has called me to do."
He added, "Sometimes Christian organizations become self-perpetuating and continue long after they have fulfilled their mission. Not so with us! I, along with the EAPE board, believe in accord with Scripture that 'for everything there is a season,' and that the season has arrived for EAPE to come to an end." more >>
The Daverts, a Christian family suffering from disabling diseases, have reportedly lost healthcare coverage for their children due to the complexities of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."
President Barack Obama had promised "that families who wanted to keep their insurance could keep their insurance, and that clearly was not the case in our situation," Melissa Davert told The Christian Post in an interview on Tuesday. While Davert and her husband still have their coverage through Medicare, she recounted a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield, saying their children's private plan had been cancelled "because of the new Affordable Care Act requirement."
Melissa and her twin children Austin and Michaela have brittle bone disease, which impedes natural skeletal growth, and those afflicted with it are more likely to break bones and develop infections. Each of them is no taller than three feet, and they use walkers and chairs to get around. The father, Ken, suffers from cerebral palsy. more >>
Some conservative leaders and Republican politicians want the GOP to focus on an anti-poverty agenda. Republican voters, though, have shown little interest in the topic. One of their biggest challenges, therefore, will be to convince Republican voters that tackling poverty should be at the top of their political agenda.
A group of conservative thinkers have been urging Republican politicians to take the lead on fighting poverty. These thinkers, dubbed "new populists" by The Christian Post last summer (see The New Populists part 1 here, and The New Populists part 2 here) include Tim Carney, a Washington Examiner columnist and American Enterprise Institute fellow, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, conservative writer Ben Domenech, and AEI President Arthur Brooks.
Brooks, for instance, has argued that Republicans need to place the poverty issue out front. Rather than discuss how certain conservative policies or principles can help the poor as an addendum or side benefit, Republicans need to lead with the poverty issue by pointing out how the poor are harmed by certain government policies and how their reform proposals can help. more >>