In a recently released white paper titled “Cost of Poverty to Community Sustainability,” Dr. Ruby Payne outlines the “multiplier effect,” the consequences of neglecting it, and how to reverse the pattern.
“According to the National Health Statistics Reports (No. 51, April 12, 2012), the average number of births to women who have less than a high school diploma or GED is 2.5. The average number of births to a woman with a college degree is 1.1.” Additionally, less educated women are likely to have children every 15-18 years, while more educated women are likely to have children approximately every 30 years. “So the generational repetition of childbearing occurs in less educated households almost twice as often.”
This “multiplier effect,” which by definition increases dramatically with each passing generation (if none of the children pass their mother’s level of educational attainment), has the potential to create massive social unrest if left unresolved. “Think Detroit in recent years,” mentions Dr. Payne. When the resourced begin to realize they cannot support the growing number of under-resourced individuals, they are far more likely to depart a community, leaving an enormous financial and social void.
How do we reverse the pattern? There is no easy answer. One proven method is the usage of Bridges Out of Poverty in conjunction with Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World. Numerous communities throughout the United States – Youngstown, OH, South Bend, IN and Dubuque, IA to name a few – have displayed incredible results.
Dr. Payne states, “We believe that under-resourced adults are problem solvers who generally don’t have the same information that resourced individuals do. Knowledge is a form of privilege, just as social access, race, and money are. We teach resourced individuals about the daily reality of being under-resourced, and we teach under-resourced individuals the information and knowledge that many resourced individuals have used to ‘get ahead.'”
For full results and a more detailed explanation of the “multiplier effect,” see the full paper.