Culture, communicative, and generational factors play heavily into poverty. This is why it is so difficult for people in generational poverty to pursue the fabled "American Dream" and escape the confines of their birth.
As my old Communication Philosopher Corey Anton loves to say, "You aren't born with a mind." In fact, he discuss that the mind is a collective and communal system, which gets its ideas from the others interact with. He goes off in this video about the collective mind and communication. It's a little dense, I know, but he really have some good points.
If we all do share a collective mine, and what we think and perceive is affected by the people we interact with, then it would seem to shine a light on some of the reasons why impoverished people have such a difficulty at overcoming their circumstances.
First of all, you have a system which provides as many barriers as possible to people who are in poverty. This all plays into the state of mind of which people are in constantly in poverty. This system that feeds feelings of hopelessness, stress, anger and despair.
History has proven that when people experience extreme hopelessness, stress, anger and despair, regardless of what income-level or culture they derive from, it can feed addiction into negative behaviors. It is not a surprise then that behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse, violence, child neglect, and mental illness all arise from long-term feelings of hopelessness, stress, anger and despair.
If you grow up in a an impoverished community, with negative behaviors such as these, who is going to provide the positive influence in your life? Who is going to educate you to reach beyond your circumstances and achieve a better life for yourself?
As Anton quotes Chorin, "The most important decision you can ever make is who to have as parents." This should not be taken literally, but as the mentors, the people you listen to who will guide your life.
If your collective mind is a community with negative thoughts and behaviors, one is much more swayed into take these as acceptable behaviors. One is also more likely to accept hopelessness, anger, stress, and despair as the norm.
This underscores the supreme importance of mentoring and relationship building in all communities. When we create programs to serve the needs of impoverished people, we need to have relational impacts on their lives. We need to add a new thoughts to their mind, that they can escape the confines of poverty, and that there is hope in reaching a better life.
Before you judge the problems of those who live in poverty, remember that these problems are collective. Unless checked, they can spread from one person to another. Until we implement positive values and objectives into a community, it will be difficult to reduce poverty in any form.