WHY SO MANY CHILDREN ARE POOR

Citation
Dm. Betson et Rt. Michael, WHY SO MANY CHILDREN ARE POOR, The Future of children, 7(2), 1997, pp. 25-39
Citations number
10
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Heath Policy & Services","Family Studies
Journal title
ISSN journal
1054-8289
Volume
7
Issue
2
Year of publication
1997
Pages
25 - 39
Database
ISI
SICI code
1054-8289(1997)7:2<25:WSMCAP>2.0.ZU;2-#
Abstract
According to the official U.S. measure of poverty, in 1995 the child p overty rate in this country was nearly 21%, compared with an adult pov erty rate of 11%. This article explores why, according to the official measure, there are so many poor children. Working from the premise th at children are poor because they live with poor adults, the reasons f or adult poverty are reviewed. Both economic forces and demographic tr ends have contributed to growing inequality of earnings among workers. That inequality coupled with stagnating real earnings has increased p overty. In addition, education, age, and race affect an individual's e arning capacity; the article examines the likelihood that an individua l will earn enough to keep his or her family out of poverty, given the individual's educational attainment, age, and race. The reasons for t he large difference between the child and adult poverty rates are expl ored, using a decomposition of the poverty population to show how demo graphic characteristics such as higher fertility rates among poor fami lies and the higher prevalence of single-parent families among the poo r lead to substantially higher poverty rates for children than for adu lts. Finally, the article examines the validity of the official povert y measure and reviews how an alternative measure proposed by a Nationa l Research Council panel would address the official measure's shortcom ings. If the panel's proposed measure were adopted, it would change th e statistical face of poor children. It would, for example, show an in crease in the proportion of poor children who live in families with tw o parents and a corresponding decrease in the proportion in families w ith only one parent, and it would show an increase in the proportion o f children who live in families with at least one full-time employed a dult and a corresponding decrease in the proportion in families with n o adult employed full time.