How Poverty During Childhood Impacts the Adult Brain

Children rely on the adults in their lives to provide safety and security; unfortunately, this is often difficult for adults living in poverty to provide. As a result, some children living in poverty face developmental challenges that may affect their well-being long term. This article discusses how poverty affects children's brain development and mental health. It also covers risk factors that may affect brain development, how a family’s economic status impacts the amount of gray and white matter volumes in the brain (gray matter controls movement, memory, and emotions while white matter helps with the transfer of information within the brain), and medical and counseling recommendations. Further, the article identifies a number of existing anti-poverty programs, including TANF, that may help reduce the financial burden of living in poverty.

Record Type: 
Stakeholder Resource
Publication Date: 
February, 2023
February 2023
Partner Resources
  • Supportive Services
  • Special Populations
  • TANF Program Administration