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Kids from low income families more likely to be bullied

Reposting this article as we have had comments, feedback and questions on it from news outlets including newspapers, TV producers, parents, kids and other website publishers. While I have had requests from the press over the years for interviews and feature stories about my business, I have always passed. I am still receiving new requests from news outlets (about this post as well as others and also the website in general), but I am still passing on them. But I will repost this blog post.

Kids from lower income or working poor families are more likely to be bullied. I do not like social media. Studies show it leads to depression, anxiety, loss of self-worth, is a time waster, is a tool for “bullies” and causes other negative issues in people, in particular youth and teenagers. However someone did bring to my attention a recent post that is going around about bullying.

While the post was one of the I am sure many out there on this topic, we wanted to comment on it in an effort to try to try to bring even more attention to this serious issue. As my mind is spinning, can’t sleep as usual, and I hope writing this helpful.

Various studies, including from the American Journal of Public Health as well as Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC), show that kids from low income families are more likely to be bullied. There is also a greater chance of bullying occurring in parts of the country where the income inequality is greater, meaning where there is a large gap between the rich and poor in the community. Bullying is also more likely to occur to LGBTQ, slow or “nerdy” kids, students of color, gender, the fat or thin, and countless other groups of kids. Sadly it can happen to anyone.

The American Journal of Public Health sampled over 10,000 kids, and the HBSC study sampled tens of thousands of children and students all over the world. While the data is hard to get at as many kids are ashamed or scared to report it and much of bullying goes unreported, data seems to indicate it is kids from lower income families that take maybe a disproportionate “hit”. The percent of bullying in low income households may be as much as 30% higher.

Maybe those kids from lower income families do not have new clothes and need to shop at a thrift store, or they do not have the latest and greatest cell phone or toy as they are concerned about trying to pay the rent and buy food. Or maybe their parent’s car is rusty, “embarrassing” and is many years old. These kids from lower socioeconomic status tend to be “targeted” for bullying more than others per the studies.

I have posted a little about my story and growing up, and moving to a few different schools. As a kid, and even still recently today as an adult, I have had my appearance made fun of. Kids in the schools called me “Mask” due to my looks, or they mad fun of my weight among other things. I was told I have no “GQ”…even though they did admit I have IQ and EQ! I have been hit, threatened, teased, mocked and worse as a kid and even that has even happened on occasion as an adult.

As the new kid in a new school there was a few cases in which I was punched in the groin by other students, and they often said it was in “jest”. Sometimes I fought back, sometimes I accepted the “joke” and sometimes I accepted it as the odds were not in my favor. While there may not be one reason why a “sick bully” targets someone, I was a kid from one of those families that was struggling to get by to pay the bills.

Bullying back then, when I grew up, took place more face to face. Kids today can be bullied using many other means, including social media, electronically, and countless other ways. I can’t imagine how much more difficult it is for today’s generation. Sadly, bullying has “evolved”.

Of course this website focuses on financial matters as well as assistance programs and not necessarily bullying. However we at needhelppayingbills want to help bring attention to this extremely serious issue, and how it may impact lower income families. Not only may a low income parent or caretaker be working hard to feed their family, pay their rent, and make it through the day, the fact these low income kids tend to be a target of a bully is of course inexcusable and terribly unfortunate.

While we doubt we have many kids using this site (other than maybe searching for free school supplies or clothes), I still wanted to say I believe that people, including kids, can overcome anything. Students and children can grow to be successful as I have been writing about here, no matter what their definition of success is (happiness, health, relationships, monetary, etc.). They can be strong and overcome this, and get the last laugh on a bully. If you are being bullied, refer to resources such as https://www.stopbullying.gov/get-help-now/index.html for tips and help as we are not experts and do not profess to be anything close to that.

The FB post: The gay boy you punched in the hall today committed suicide a few minutes ago. That girl you called a slut in class today, she’s a virgin. The boy you called lame, he has to work every night to support his family. That girl you pushed down the other day, she’s already being abused at home. That girl you called fat, she’s starving herself. The old man you made fun of cause of the ugly scars, he fought for our country and is living on a low income pension. The boy you made fun of for crying, his mother is dying.
You think you freaking know them, guess what? You don’t!


Jon McNamara is the CEO of needhelppayingbills.com, a company that he started in 2008 and that specializes in helping low income families as well as those who are in a financial hardship. He also found NHPB LLC, a company committed to helping the less fortunate. Jon and his team also provide free financial advice to help people learn about as well as manage their money. Every piece of content on this website has been reviewed by him before publishing and many of the articles he has personally written. Jon is the leading author for needhelppayingbils.

3 thoughts on “Kids from low income families more likely to be bullied

  • January 18, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    My son was bullied in school, we are poor. And I work two jobs all by myself as am a single mother. I will show my son this story.

  • January 26, 2019 at 6:53 am

    My little 7 year old is being bullied because we can barely keep lights on. My high school sons also had issues from bully kids making fun of them because we can’t pay the bills because my babies dad never helped and I am a single mom because of him. Love your all blog and story and it may give my kids hope because they want a better life and not struggle like now.


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