Resolving Conflict & Transforming Lives, Since 1996

Happy and successful families are often lacking in poverty

Nabhi Christian Ministries is concerned about our neighbors living in poverty. Poverty often lacks circumstances required for fulfilled families, such as stability, security, positive emotional time together, access to basic resources, and a strong shared belief system. These conditions negatively affect parents and children, leading to unhappiness, hopelessness, stress, low self-esteem, no self-worth, and bad behavior. These factors can drastically impact academic achievement, high school graduation, and college attendance.

Recent increases in energy prices have further burdened families living in poverty. According to the November 2021 consumer price index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, energy prices are up 33.3% on the year/ Fuel oil is nearly 60% more expensive than last year, electricity is up 6.5%, and natural gas rose by more than 25%. The increases wreaked havoc on household budgets for families who were unprepared for these increases.

Studies have shown that financial hardship directly affects academic achievement. Over half of the children in low-income families, including grandparents raising grandchildren experience utility disconnections, which eliminates resources essential for studying and maintaining a healthy environment, such as electricity for computers, water to maintain good hygiene and enjoy a healthy meal, and for having a comfortable and well-lit study environment.

During COVID19:

The economics of COVID-19 are clear. According to an analysis of census data from the University of Minnesota, single mothers have lost their jobs at a far higher rate than parents of other families with children. This is due to the fact that many single mothers work in low-wage jobs that have been hit hard by the pandemic. In addition to the economic challenges, single mothers are also facing the burden of educating their school-age children at home. This can be a daunting task, especially for those who do not have the resources or support they need. 

The number of single mothers with jobs was 22 percent lower in April than a year ago, compared to nine percent lower for other parents with children. Low-wage earners, which these single mothers often are, took an even bigger hit. Consider that 83 percent of waitresses, 72 percent of cleaners, 58 percent of cooks, 50 percent of personal care aides, and 14 percent of customer service representatives lost their jobs by mid-April. Before the pandemic, 58 percent of these service jobs were held by women. By mid-April, nearly 5.7 million women had lost those jobs, compared with 3.2 million men. All told, 17 percent of women have lost their jobs since the pandemic began, compared with 13 percent of men, according to the analysis.

Among women, women of color face the highest unemployment rates, with Latinas facing 19.0 percent unemployment, Black women 16.5 percent unemployment, and white women 13.1 percent unemployment. By comparison, Latinos face 15.1 percent unemployment, Black men face 15.5 percent unemployment, and white men face 10.7 percent unemployment."

However, African American single mothers are resilient and determined to make the best of a difficult situation. They are also offering advice and support to other single mothers who are struggling.

Before COVID19:

Pittsburgh: In Pittsburgh, the poverty rate was 22.0% in 2019, with one out of every 4.5 residents living in poverty. Families and people of color are especially vulnerable to poverty and income insecurity. The poverty rate for black elders living in the U.S. is more than twice the rate for all elders. Poverty rates for veterans between the ages of 18-34 are higher than all other age groups. These statistics highlight the need for comprehensive measures to address poverty and income insecurity. 

Families: Statistically, families and people of color are especially vulnerable to poverty and income insecurity. Family costs increased by 22 percent statewide from 2010 to 2017 and continues to increase hardship on black families. 

Females: Most black poverty is found in female-headed households. Black female residents of Pittsburgh are more likely to live in poverty than black males. According to the 2019 United Way Alice Report 33,575 of 144,360 females in Pittsburgh live below the poverty line. 

Children: Poverty for younger ages in Pittsburgh is seen as the most undesirable for the future of the community. reports that there has been an upward trend of families falling into poverty in the last several years that has long-term negative impacts for children and families, and disproportionately affects children of color. 

Elderly: According to the Administration on Aging (AoA), the poverty rate for black elders living in the U.S. is more than twice the rate for all elders. African American older adults make up 9% of the elderly population, they represent 21% of the elderly population living below the federal poverty level.

Veterans: According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Poverty rates for veterans between the ages of 18-34 are higher than all other age groups.

Individuals: "United Way of Pennsylvania launched a statewide data project, ALICE, which provides a comprehensive measure of financial hardship across our state. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. The ALICE report tells the story of our community members who are going to work but are still struggling to survive, through a standardized methodology that assesses the cost of living in every county. ALICE is our neighbors, friends and family who may earn more than the official Federal Poverty Level, but still cannot afford the basic necessities for their family. Pittsburgh residents reported income levels below the poverty line in the last year. 

African American Girls: Racial disparities continues to exist against Black girls in Allegheny County. NCM is passionate about the criminalization, school-to-prison pipeline and other health and welfare disparities against black females in Allegheny County, and are working hard to address, reduce and prevent the impact of these disparities on black women and girls.

According to a recent 2020 study from the University of Minnesota, Single moms in particular, have been hit very hard by the unemployment crisis and are losing jobs at a far higher rate than other families with children; having an adverse effect on their children. Black teenage girls are more likely to be removed from their homes and disproportionately channeled to the child welfare system in Allegheny County and/or are10 times more likely to be referred to Juvenile Court than white teenage girls and 3 times more likely nationally. Although white girls population is higher, 492 Black girls were referred to Juvenile Justice in Allegheny County in 2019 compared to 169 white girls. 32% of black girls were referred by the Pittsburgh Public Schools Police Department for minor offenses. All arrests of Black girls in Pittsburgh resulting in a disorderly conduct charge were made by Pittsburgh Public School Police, 140 through the Magisterial District Justice, 53 by Pittsburgh Police compared to their arrest of only 8 girls according to Disrupting Pathways to Juvenile Justice for Black Youth in Allegheny County,” a report recently commissioned by the local Black Girls Equity Alliance.

Due to issues African-American girls face while growing up, mental and physical health can be a challenge. Statistics show that black girls significantly suffer from self-esteem problems, bullying and peer pressure. In many ways teenage girls are feeling immense pressure to measure up to others. Self-esteem issues extend beyond pregnancy and adolescent motherhood. Low self-esteem makes a teen vulnerable.

7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with family and friends.

Pressure & Perfectionism: 74% of girls say they are under pressure to please everyone (Girls Inc, The Supergirl Dilemma)

98% of girls feel there is an immense pressure from external sources to look a certain way (National Report on Self Esteem)

92% of teen girls would like to change something about the way they look, with body weight ranking the highest. (Dove campaign)

90% of eating disorders are found in girls (National Association for Self Esteem)

1 in 4 girls today fall into a clinical diagnosis – depression, eating disorders, cutting, and other mental/emotional disorders. On top of these, many more report being constantly anxious, sleep deprived, and under significant pressure. (The Triple Bind, Steven Hinshaw)

By age thirteen, 53% of American girls age 13 are “unhappy with their bodies.”

This grows to…

78% by the time girls reach seventeen (National Institute on Media and the Family).

If the deeper issue is not addressed now, depression, anxiety, isolation and poor problem solving skills will become their adult future.

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