The Christchurch Health and Development Study, by Otago University has found that poverty doesn’t lead to increased rates of crime or mental health problems in later life.
The study’s leader, David Fergusson, says low income appears at first glance clearly associated with crime and mental health problems.
But he says poverty is also connected with a lack of parental care, and that is what seems to be the real culprit in these adverse effects.
Poor parenting isn’t confined to poor people but the study, which has observed the development of about 990 people from birth over 30 years, did show a link between family income and the child’s later educational success and earning power.
But is the cause a lack of money or lack of learning? Is it being poor or the fact that poorer people are likely to have less education – and sometimes less regard for education - that handicaps their children?
This doesn’t apply to all poor people, some understand that education is the key to a better life and work hard to ensure their children have opportunities they didn’t have.
But some parents don’t recognise, or don’t care about, the importance of education and don’t give their children the help and encouragement they need to succeed.
That could be a contributing factor to their poverty and the poorer chances for their children in which case education could be at least part of the answer.
There’s more on the study here.