By Kim Hall and Jan Diehm
For many Americans, stress isn’t juggling family and an outsize job, or looking for meaning in work and relationships. The stress of poverty can have devastating effects on wellbeing — and when it occurs early in life, the scars are lasting and even deadly.
As Moises Velasquez-Manoff reported in an excellent story in the New York Times last month, people born at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, regardless of later-life outcomes, are more prone to illness and premature death because “the effects of early-life stress also seem to linger, unfavorably molding our nervous systems and possibly even accelerating the rate at which we age.”
Here are some of the ways poverty can hurt physical and emotional wellbeing. As the middle class continues to be replaced by wage-workers, a wider swath of Americans may face enduring disadvantages.