To better understand the tangible effects of disparities in income and education, one need only observe, across income lines, the stark contrasts between businesses, institutions, and other infrastructures. From schools to financial institutions to grocery stores to investment and development, these contrasts explain the discrepancy in standards of living, life chances, and life outcomes among the impoverished. Relative to economically healthy communities, impoverished communities are structurally positioned to fail their citizens. Furthermore, as with the resultant benefits of sound infrastructure, the resultant problems with an impoverished infrastructure affect not only current citizens, but any subsequent generations that live in such impoverished conditions.
Out of all age groups, children have the highest poverty rates and remain America’s poorest citizens. Childhood poverty continues to impact millions of youth across the United States and recovery in the aftermath of the Great American Recession has been “stagnant” at best. According to the Pew Research Center, children under the age of 18 make up more than one-third of the poverty rate, and youth under the age of 24 make up just about half of the population. Unfortunately, in about every major U.S. city, at-risk youth encounter structural disparities and and must overcome economic inequities that they shouldn’t have to face at such a young age.