Claudia Coulton Discusses Poverty and Health in Plain Dealer
With recent Census data indicating that 54 percent of children in the City of Cleveland live in poverty, the Cleveland Plain Dealer asked Dr Claudia Coulton about the relationship between poverty and health for “More than half of Cleveland kids live in poverty, and it’s making them sick” on September 30, 2014.
“Poverty is stressful both for the parents and the children, because of the uncertainty of life, and basic life needs that face families on a very tight income,” said Dr. Coulton, Co-Director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development, who believes it’s very clear that stress is the mechanism linking poverty with poor health. Compounding the problem, the longer the stress lasts the more adversely it effects the health of the child. “Long-term poverty, particularly that starts in childhood, is a big factor in differences in health outcomes, even on into adulthood.”
While Cleveland has one of the highest poverty rates for children in the country, Coulton believes “Cleveland is really out ahead of the nation” on building a coalition to increase prekindergarten enrollment. Studies have shown high quality Pre-K and childcare can greatly helps low-income children be prepared for school. PRE4CLE, a partnership begun earlier this year, plans to double the number of Cleveland children in preschool. The Poverty Center is a technical consultant to the Cleveland Pre-K Task Force.
Dr. Coulton and the Poverty Center have been studying poverty in the region, its affects on children, and the benefits of prekindergarten for decades. The above map is from a recent report.