Income inequality continues to rise throughout the country. This issue is perhaps best summed up by the phrase; the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.
Too many people at the lower end of the socio-economic ladder are deprived of good working wages. In comparison, the wealthiest people in the country continue to make more and more money. While the prominent executives are taking home huge bonuses, the people down at the bottom are struggling to get by on minimum wage.
Naturally, this creates a troubling situation in the U.S. Income inequality has significant implications on the lives of millions of people. In this post, we look to explore some of the critical areas that are most impacted by the growing income inequality.
An increase in ACEs
ACEs are adverse childhood experiences, which primarily refers to any stressful or damaging events that happen during childhood, thus can affect health and development across the life course (Halfon, Larson, Son, Lu, & Bethell, 2017). Unfortunately, this can include domestic violence, children being abandoned by parents, a parent being imprisoned, or growing up in an uncertain home environment that’s plagued by arguments or drug abuse problems.
Everything that happens in our lives affects us; events can change us for better or worse, and some things affect us more than others. But did you know that suffering childhood adversity, such as extreme poverty, abuse, neglect, or a sick or alcoholic parent, can affect you right through your life? And it’s not just a mental health issue either. Experiencing toxic stress and adverse conditions as a child can actually alter your physiological make up and cause life-threatening physical diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The correlation between childhood adversity and later ill health was first discussed in a 1995 study by physicians Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda, and since then, the evidence has been mounting. Now, there can be little doubt that childhood adversity can and does affect later adult health. In that initial study, Felitti and Anda examined the childhood and adolescent histories of 17,000 people, looking for what they termed ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), or chronic, unpredictable, and stress-inducing life events. Of those they studied, a huge two thirds had suffered at least one ACE and 90% of those two thirds had experienced more than one. They then looked at the correlation between the patients’ ACE score and their health – and the results were shocking.