Poverty is often treated as a national phenomenon and studied from a national economic perspective. This essay would try to examine the phenomenon from the family and child perspective. By focusing on the problem of poverty and the ways in which it affects and is affected by education, this essay will try to capture the causes and consequences of poverty. Within the context of this approach, the research will expose the reasons why poverty can be a generational phenomenon. While a number of factors determine the inheritance of poverty from one generation to the next, education, quite paradoxically, emerges as both the core reason for generational poverty and the solution to it.
Following the establishment of a link between poverty and education, focusing on the extent to which education contributes to poverty alleviation, the research examines the educational opportunities available to poor children. Acknowledging the fact that education, as Page and Simmons assert, has the potential to disrupt the generational poverty cycle, the research found that this potential is rarely realized. The reason is that children from poor families do not have access to quality education and, indeed, are rarely afforded the educational opportunities which children from middle class or affluent families enjoy. Thus, even though education can instigate socio-economic mobility and ensure that poverty is not passed from one generation to the next, the deleterious effect of poverty on education ensures the continuation of generational poverty.