but also psychosocial circumstances that compromise mental
health,” she says. “Furthermore, most people can agree that
somebody who works full time shouldn’t be on the way to the
A large and robust body of evidence links poverty to poor
psychological outcomes. According to data from the National
Institute of Mental Health, low-income individuals are two
to five times more likely to suffer from a diagnosable mental
disorder than those of the highest socioeconomic group.
Poverty’s effects on children are also particularly significant
— and long lasting. Poor children are at a greater risk for
problems including lower IQ, poor academic achievement,
poor socioemotional functioning, developmental delays and
“It’s been clear for decades that poverty is harmful to
people’s well-being,” Smith says.
Nevertheless, poverty remains prevalent in the United States.
According to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, 46. 7 million