Economic Discrimination

Aaron Santa Cruz
11 min readNov 13, 2020


It’s terrible


Living under the poverty line can be harsh, but being discriminated because of it is even worse. History has repeated itself over the years and the issue of poverty has gotten a lot better. If people did something about it, crimes could be reduced and crimes amongst teens would also be reduced. People are being discriminated against by age, gender and race. According to an empirical test, poverty is defined as something that can affect you negatively “poverty is defined as a lack of economic resources that has negative social consequences” (Mood). There are many negative effects of poverty such as low academic performance, crime, and discrimination.


History has repeated itself, there has almost always been the high and the lower class. According to Karl Marx, the author of the Communist Manifesto, Karl explains how history has repeated itself over centuries, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.” (Marx). History is still repeating itself. We still have tens of millions of people who live under the poverty line [According to the Census Bureau, 40.6 million people lived under the poverty line in 2016]. In fact, according to an article from Foreign Policy, “The middle class has never been the most ardent of revolutionaries-only the most effective.” (Kenny). The middle class hasn’t had a big economic breakthrough, but is the most effective. The working class has always expressed the poverty that crushes them. According to the same article from Foreign Policy, “Marx argued that the revolutionary proletarian impulse was also a fundamentally global one-that working classes would be united across countries and oceans by their shared experience of crushing poverty and the soullessness of factory life.” (Kenny). The working class has always been a second thought that needs attention before they’re entirely crushed.

Economic Discrimination

Economic discrimination contributes to poverty as well. Economical discrimination can occur in many forms including age, gender, and race. They are treated unfairly based on their characteristics. They get lower pay and are treated worse in their workplaces just because of their qualities. The consequences that these people suffer are sometimes imaginable. In fact, if people helped them, the rate of crimes could even go down and crimes amongst teens could go down.

Age Discrimination

Economic discrimination based on age is real. According to an article by Gibson-Davis, Christina M., and Christine Percheski, “In 1989, in the bottom half of wealth from jobs, one child under the age of 18, made $38,00 more than one employed elderly.” (Gibson-Davis). This is quite unfair, just because someone is older doesn’t mean that they should be treated unfairly. The elderly are earning less even though some are working the exact same job as children. According to the article by Gibson-Davis, Christina M., and Christine Percheski, children under the age 18 that are able to work, have always had more wealth than the elderly from jobs “From 1989 to 2013, in the bottom half of wealth from jobs, one child’s wealth from jobs has been at least $35,000 more than the elderly.” (Gibson-Davis). Over time, that is a lot of money. The elderly are not making enough to live especially if they have no retirement fund. If they didn’t make much money before they retired, Social Security will provide less to them. It’s just a continuous downward spiral.

Gender Discrimination

Economic discrimination based on gender is a thing that has been going on since forever. Males have been thought as superior to females. That’s not always the case, and in some workplaces that’s never true. According to Economic Pay Institute, discrimination is caused by a bias “Differences between women and men-are themselves often affected by gender bias” (Schieder). Though in 2016, according to Economic Pay Institute, females on average still make less than males “women are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men.” (Schieder). That’s a lot of money. That means that if a male made $1,000, a female would only make $790. This causes problems and makes females more likely to fall below the poverty line.

Race Discrimination

Another thing that history has repeated is economic discrimination based on race. In fact, that’s exactly what an article from World Economic Forum says, “In a report by Pew Research, black people identified discrimination as a major reason why they have a harder time getting ahead.” (Gray). Black people and Hispanics are also being discriminated against. In fact, “Hispanics are also affected by discrimination. They are either 1st or 2nd in line for discrimination, lower quality schools, lack of jobs, lack of motivation, family instability and lack of good role models.” (Gray). Most of the current top jobs are maintained by white people and “Black and minority ethnic (BME) employees represent only 6% of the top management positions and there was virtually no ethnicity change in the top management positions in the five years between 2007 and 2012”. (Gray). In the last few years, it has gotten better, but it is still prevalent. According to Economic Policy Institute (EPI), white people make a lot more money “As a cumulative average, for annual wealth, white people make $583,476 more than black people.” (Jones). That’s a lot of money that is needed for others and not just privileged white males. If black people’s talent and other minorities talent’s was used, it could generate a lot of money “If BME talent was fully utilized in the UK, the British economy could be boosted by up to 29 billion.” (Gray). According to the EPI even black people with a formal education black people still make less than white people do “Even with a graduate degree, as a cumulative average, for annual wealth, white people made $209,100 more than black people.” (Jones). That fact is pretty ridiculous. To add to these numbers, President Trump’s new tax cut is making the richer “richer” and the poorer “poorer”. Everyone should be making the same amount, not different amounts based on their race.

Negative Effects of Poverty


Those who live under the poverty line suffer many educational effects. According to The Borgen Project, people who live under the poverty line have a direct correlation to low academic performance “There is a direct correlation between low academic performance and poverty.” (Kellog). This could make getting into college tough. Even if they do go to college, getting out of the massive debt that they collected makes it even harder. They may have to wait years upon years in order to pay off the debt that they pulled out to go to college to help their family. This could make it hard for the children to get top management jobs that could earn them and their families more money. Instead it could cause the child to drop out or have a bad attendance record “Children living in poverty have a higher number of absenteeism or leave school all together because they are more likely to work or care for family members.” (“11 Facts About Education”). Leaving school to help your family is good, but education is also important.


Poverty is also linked to health problems. According to an article from the Do Something Organization, poverty is a cause of developmental issues “Children that live below the poverty line are 1.3 more times more likely to have developmental delays or learning disabilities.” (“11 facts About Education”). Depression is also prevalent according to an article from US News, “Almost half of children who live in poverty have mothers with at least some symptoms of depression.” (Esposito). Decreased life expectancy is also prevalent “Between 10 and nearly 15 years- that’s the difference in life expectancy between the poorest and richest people.” (Esposito). When poverty leads to stress on the entire family, it can cause some unwanted side effects “‘If a child is exposed to constant stress in a childhood, essentially their stress mechanism is never turned off.’ Duffe Says. ‘So it resets at a higher level, a higher heart rate, higher blood pressure.’” (Esposito). The risk of unwanted effects of stress can come in and make someone’s life a whole lot worse than it was before. Along with stress and depression comes the rise in cortisol levels. Cortisol is responsible for regulating proteins,carbohydrates and fats. It also regulates heart functions like blood pressure and blood sugar. The risk of injury can also increase “‘ They live in substandard housing. They can live in dangerous neighborhoods where they can be shot or injured.’” (Esposito). No one wants to get shot. These people do their best and live with what they have.


Another consequence of poverty is crime and the judicial system. In fact “ ‘POVERTY’. Wrote Aristotle, ‘is the parent of crime’ ” (“To Have and Have Not”). This means that poverty is connected to crime in a multitude of ways. Also according to The Borgen Project, poverty can lead to crime “Lack of economic opportunity leads to impoverishment which then leads to crime.” (Kellog). Crime is also another reason that people should help others that live under the poverty line. If the population wants less crime, help the people who are causing it, and it could go away faster. Poverty is also prevalent in teenagers as well, making crime a topic that’s hard to solve, according to Economist, “teenagers who had grown up in families whose earnings were among the bottom fifth were seven times more likely to be convicted of violent crimes.” (“To Have and Have Not”). Unfortunately, this means that teens are a lot more likely to commit crimes if their families are poor. This can cause problems in neighborhoods that are already poor. Crime could cause some unwanted side effects. After the crime is committed, if they’re caught, they go to a judge. The judicial system may still bias. In fact “The federal crack cocaine sentencing laws of the 1980s have received significant attention due to their highly disproportionate racial outcomes” (“Justice for All?”). This means that the judicial system might be biased. This isn’t fair because that could mean worse sentencing to those people. The statistics show that black people have a higher chance of going to prison “One of every three black males born today will go to prison in his lifetime as well, as will one of every six Latino males.” (“Justice for All?”). This also shows that the judicial system might be biased. One fact to really prove it is that there have been practices that are very different “Disparate practices of law enforcement related to the ‘War on Drugs’ have been well documented in many jurisdictions.” (“Justice for All”). Disparate means “not equal”. That could mean that the judicial system is somewhat biased.


The final consequence of poverty are the social consequences. According to an Empirical Test, poverty has negative effects on social life, “Poverty in general has negative effects on social life.” (Mood). Sometimes, just because the person is poor, they don’t partake in public events because they think that they might be viewed negatively. In fact, being poor doesn’t excuse you from events, “Being poor is not about being able to partake in society on equal terms with others.” (Mood). Sometimes poor people are “withdrawing from social and civic life because of lack of economic resources.” (Mood). This isn’t good. The stigma around poor people needs to end now. In fact, “It has more harmful effects for relations with friends than for social support.” (Mood). If poor people were more social, problems like depression and stress could wither away and the negative effects that they cause. Also, women who are affected by poverty sometimes have less fancy clothes and abstain from public events because of how they look. If we help the poor, things could look a lot nicer and everyone could have a fair chance at life, rather than being discriminated against.


Living in poverty can be extremely harsh and have negative effects, but being discriminated because of it even worse. History has continued to repeat itself with the low class and the higher class. Poverty is an issue that can not be ignored. Feeling the effects of poverty can do a lot of damage to a person. The lower class is also being discriminated against, making it unfair for people, and the higher class is getting a lot more praise and attention. People are discriminated against on multiple different layers including age, gender and race. Along with poverty comes negative effects such as stress, crime, depression and education related effects. Effects that could even lead to death.

Works Cited

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Schieder, Jessica. “‘Women’s Work’ and the Gender Pay Gap: How Discrimination, Societal Norms, and Other Forces Affect Women’s Occupational Choices-and Their Pay.” Economic Policy Institute, 20 July 2016, Accessed 8 November 2020.

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Aaron Santa Cruz