ERIC Number: ED476952
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-May
Reference Count: N/A
Poor Families in 2001: Parents Working Less and Children Continue To Lag Behind. Child Trends Research Brief.
With increasing unemployment in the United States, the nation has seen a drop in the percentage of children in poverty with one or more parents in the workforce, a reverse of trends evident in the late 1990s. This research brief presents a statistical snapshot of working poor families with children in 2001. Analyses revealed that in 2001 children with parents making a substantial work effort were seven times less likely to be poor than children whose parents did not make a substantial work effort. Five percent of children in families headed by married couples and 18 percent of children in families headed by single mothers were poor even though parents made a substantial work effort. Poor families were more likely to be headed by single parents or by parents who had not graduated from high school. Health insurance for children from poor, two-parent families lagged behind coverage in other family groups, regardless of parent employment status. Child care consumed a large share of the incomes of working poor families. After federal welfare reform, the percentage of poor children receiving welfare payments dropped, regardless of parental work status, with a similar drop for food stamps, except for working poor families headed by married couples. Children in working poor families lagged behind on important measures of well-being and home environment. Poor children and their families had lower levels of positive interaction with their community than did higher income families. Implications for public policy are discussed, focusing on approaches intended to increase work hours required of parents in welfare families, increase direct and indirect wage subsidies, assist low-income parents in working more consistently and taking career paths that lead to higher wages and benefits, and encourage and preserve marriage so children have a family with the potential of two incomes. (Contains 25 endnotes.) (KB)
Descriptors: Child Care, Children, Comparative Analysis, Economic Factors, Employed Parents, Family Environment, Family Financial Resources, Family Income, Family Structure, Health Insurance, Incidence, Parent Background, Poverty, Public Policy, Trend Analysis, Welfare Recipients, Welfare Reform, Well Being, Working Poor
Child Trends, 4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20008. Tel: 202-572-6000; Fax: 202-362-5533; Web site: http://www.childtrends.org. For full text: http://www.childtrends.org/PDF/PoorFamiliesRB.pdf.
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Foundation for Child Development, New York, NY.; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL.; David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Los Altos, CA.; William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Palo Alto, CA.
Authoring Institution: Child Trends, Inc., Washington, DC.