Native Americans experience the most severe poverty of all U.S. racial and ethnic groups. In particular, one-third of all Native households with children younger than five years live below the federal poverty line.
The harsh effects of poverty are well known. Poor children are more likely than others to have asthma, to be obese, and to die of infectious diseases. They are also more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems, and less likely to meet standards for reading proficiency. Their parents are more likely than others to be depressed.
The English language is rich in clichés about poverty. Two old sayings come to mind: “The poor will always be with us” and “Throwing money at poverty is no way to cure it.”