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Poverty is a relative term which in this case will be considered as the inability to afford basic amenities such as good clothing and education. Traditionally education was not considered a basic human want but with increased awareness and competition amidst limited opportunities globally it has become crucial that individuals acquire education to compete for these opportunities. It has become the sole determinant of opportunities at ones disposal. There is a strong correlation between poverty, education and unemployment. People from poor backgrounds have limited opportunities to access good education as this in most cases requires money. Limited or no education makes it impossible for these individuals to be competitive in the job market and chances are they never get employed as they luck basic qualifications. From this one is able to correlate these three factors whose mother is poverty.
As we have discussed above it becomes almost impossible to talk about poverty and its economic impact on youth without mentioning employment which in this case may entail both self employment and formal employment. This is because employment raises the economic status of the beneficiary. It is however misleading to point at poverty as the only factor affecting the economic well being of the youths as there are other factors which will be briefly mentioned in the following paragraph.
These factors are captured by Freeman and Wise in their research of youth labor market. They note that a crucial determinant of youth employment is the strength of the overall economy (Freeman and Wise 4). An economy is able to guarantee jobs to most youths during boom times and when the economy contracts jobs contract as well. The other factor is the proportion of youths in the population, as the number of youth increase their absorption into jobs decrease as there has to be a balance of experience and potential in the economy. Freeman and Wise note that besides these factors there are characteristics which affect the economic well being of youths (4). These include poverty with their research indicating that youth from poor families frequently tend to have fewer employment opportunities as compared to youngsters from wealthier families.
These factors and characteristics greatly affect the youth. They are associated with major social situations such as increased crime rates as these youth seek alternative means through which they can meet their obligations. The other is drug use as many become hopeless and seek alternative channels through which they can seek solace and comfort. Finally, poverty and limited economic opportunities have been closely linked with increase in suicide attempts among the youth. This is closely associated with drug abuse and in some instances depression. The most unfortunate occurrence has been inability of these youths to support themselves as well as the ageing generation. Economically this presents the greatest challenge as it brings into sharp focus the ability of the economy to support itself with the most productive group still wallowing in poverty and lacking the basic knowledge and expertise to drive forward the economy. Of more concern is the inability to produce enough for the ageing generation which looks upon them for support.
The above discussion offers a cross examination of the youth with no emphasis on a particular area. In this part we narrow the scope to youth in Mississippi. Mississippi has in the past been characterized with racial struggles among the blacks and whites. Contention being the multiple privileges accorded to the whites as compared to their fellow counterparts. This has had an effect in the opportunities among the youths of this State. The good thing however is that the gap is slowly reducing and opportunities are more open to youth of both races. Consideration for these opportunities has become more objective with the main bases being qualification. However, there is still concern that the injustices of the past have conspired to disadvantage the blacks as the previous generation which is currently in charge of the current youth crop did not have enough resources to put their youth at par with the whites. Irrespective of these inherent differences the youth population which currently stands at about 33% faces more less the same challenges. According to Vowell and Wells 25.2% of Mississippians live below the poverty line a higher percentage than the national threshold of 14.5% (4). This limits the chances of most children to access quality education as discussed in the latter parts of this essay. The impact has been increased drug use among the youth the most affected being the blacks who comprise of about 54% of those below the poverty line Vowell and Wells (4).. Other consequences are increased crime rate and delusion. These youths have lacked economic ambition as they see their older ones still suffering. The greatest economic challenge for the youths in Mississippi as well is their inability to provide for themselves and support the preceding generation which will eventually cripple the Mississippi economy.
Types of unemployment
There are three main types of unemployment, frictional, structural and cyclical unemployment (Sexton 265). Sexton defines frictional unemployment as the temporary unemployment resulting from the time potential employees are looking for potential employers and on the other hand employers are looking for potential employees (265). The other type of unemployment structural unemployment results from people’s failure to posses a required set of skills. Employers continually explore for people with a certain set of skills when they do not find these skills then the result is structural unemployment, at times it may also result when individuals’ posses outdated skills. Lastly, cyclical unemployment is as a result of general economic cycles. The economy has two main cycles, boom and recession. During times of boom the economy is able to absorb more people and during times of recession it takes up less people or even at times sheds those already in employment. This results to cyclical unemployment (Sexton 266). The major type of unemployment affecting Mississippi is cyclical unemployment as most youths depend on the health of the economy. Structural unemployment is less likely as most youths possess relevant skills. There is also a bit of frictional unemployment which only lasts for a while due to the continually availability of youths with relevant skills making it easier for employers to have a desired pool of applicants and potential employees.
In conclusion, youth are continually exposed to a myriad of problems but poverty seems to be the main factor leading to their economic disability. Unlike in the past where this was mainly a characteristic of rural areas a look at Mississippi shows that youth there whether around cities or rural areas face the same challenges. It is also unfortunate that the few who make it through school and end up with relevant skills still have to contend with economic cycles which deny them opportunities to gain employment. This has had profound effects on youth not only in Mississippi but in U.S as a whole. They have resulted to drug abuse, crime and other unsocial behavior. Of major concern however is the increasing imbalance between the youth and the older generation as the latter cannot be expected to support the economy for long as their productivity declines. Those supposed to take over lack in experience and opportunities which presents the greatest economic challenge for our economy today.