Nobody chooses to be poor. Poverty is far better explained by what scholars describe as a “life-course” perspective that links adult outcomes to the accumulation of lived experiences from their earliest childhood experiences.
After birth, adverse childhood experiences — including poverty — can lead to a wide range of challenges later in life.
We are part of the Manitoba Research Alliance, which has been doing research in Winnipeg’s inner city for close to 20 years. We have learned a great deal about what keeps people poor and what individuals living in poverty need if they are to climb their way out.
Research shows that the adult we end up being in the labour market, including the skills that will literally pay off, is influenced as early as our prenatal environment. Educational attainment is also heavily influenced by parents’ income.