The Issue. Poverty has been described as an economic state that does not allow for the provision of basic family and child needs, such as adequate food, clothing, and housing. However, the debate about the effects of poverty on the growth, development, and health of children is as much involved with the culture or general context of poverty as it is with the economics of poverty. This culture of poverty is in part mediated through environmental deprivations, such as failing schools, gangs, drugs, violence, and struggling families. Heclo1  described this sociocultural and environmental dimension of poverty as “a condition of misery, hopelessness, and dependency.” The subject of this article is to review the literature on the effects of poverty on US children as mediated through economic, ecologic, and family influences.

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