In some households, poverty is passed down from generation to generation, almost like an inherited trait.

Teri Williams, president of OneUnited Bank, sees it happen among the lower-income Boston residents the bank serves. Often it boils down to bad decisions: people with bad credit who can’t get a utilities account use their children’s Social Security numbers to get the gas turned on and then can’t pay the bills, saddling their children with bad credit before they hit adulthood.

“We’ve seen that unfortunately too many times,” Williams said.

New research suggests that these kinds of actions may be tied to the chronic stress of poverty, which can short-circuit brain development in children.

Read more at Boston Globe

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