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Click on the links below to learn about the consequences of child poverty, its connection to well-being, and potential solutions that could alleviate the problem.

Child Poverty Higher and More Persistent in Rural America

Abstract: “The negative consequences of growing up in a poor family are well known. Poor children are less likely to have timely immunizations, have lower academic achievement, are generally less engaged in school activities, and face higher delinquency rates in adolescent years. Each of these has adverse impacts on their health, earnings, and family status in adulthood. Less understood is how the experience of poverty can differ depending on the community context. Being poor in a relatively well-off community with good infrastructure and schools is different from being poor in a place where poverty rates have been high for generations, where economic investment in schools and infrastructure is negligible, and where pathways to success are few. The hurdles are even higher in rural areas, where low population density, physical isolation, and the broad spatial distribution of the poor make service delivery and exposure to innovative programs more challenging.”


Poverty is Not Just an Indicator: The Relationship Between Income, Poverty, and Child Well-Being

Abstract: “In this article, we review the evidence on the effects of poverty and low income on children’s development and well-being. We argue that poverty is an important indicator of societal and child well-being, but that poverty is more than just an indicator. Poverty and low income are causally related to worse child development outcomes, particularly cognitive-developmental and educational outcomes. Mechanisms through which poverty affects these outcomes include material hardship, family stress, parental and cognitive inputs, and the developmental context to which children are exposed. The timing, duration, and community context of poverty also appear to matter for children’s outcomes—with early experiences of poverty, longer durations of poverty, and higher concentrations of poverty in the community leading to worse child outcomes.” 


Child Poverty in the United States Today: Introduction and Executive Summary

Abstract: “Childhood poverty has been a persistent problem in the United States, with approximately 1 in 5 children living below the official federal poverty level (FPL) and almost 1 in 2 who are poor or near-poor. Child poverty rates have varied somewhat with economic cycles. In recent decades, implementation of antipoverty measures aimed at families with children has shown some protective benefit, especially during the Great Recession. Nevertheless, children remain the poorest members of our society even in good times, with rates that are unacceptably high for a developed nation. This situation is not an inevitable fact of life. The United States is a nation that knows how to use policies and programs to raise its citizens out of poverty. In 1959, a total of 35% of seniors lived below the official FPL, but today, with programs such as Social Security expansion and Medicare, only 10% of seniors live below the official FPL.”.


Children in poverty: Can public policy alleviate the consequences?

Abstract: “Child poverty is persistent throughout the world, even in many wealthy countries. Among Western industrialised countries, the United States has high child poverty rates (about 20% in 2009) as well as high income inequality. In recent years, two US policies to address child poverty have received support: early intervention to improve the health and development of young children, and employment-based financial incentives and work supports for low-income parents. Both types of policy are well-supported by high-quality research, a welcome trend toward evidence-based policy. But, they are not enough. In this paper, I argue that two features of the predominant theory of change in US poverty policy limit our ability to tackle the problem. First, we define poverty narrowly as lack of income or economic hardship; by contrast, the European Union and Australia consider social exclusion/ inclusion to be the core problem to be addressed by policy. Second, we focus primarily on changing individual behaviour rather than also changing the economic and social structural conditions that lead to high rates of child poverty.”


Poverty and Early Childhood Outcomes

Abstract: “BACKGROUND: Children born into poverty face many challenges. Exposure to poverty comes in abstract different forms, and children may also transition into or out of poverty. In this study, we examine the relationships among various outcomes and different levels of poverty (household
and/or neighborhood poverty) at different points during a child’s first 5 years.

METHODS: We used linkable administrative databases, following 46 589 children born in Manitoba, Canada, between 2000 and 2009 to age 7. Poverty is defined as those receiving welfare and those living in low-income neighborhoods. Four outcomes are measured in the first 5 years (placement in out-of-home care, externalizing mental health diagnosis, asthma diagnosis, and hospitalization for injury), with school readiness assessed between ages 5
and 7.”


Child Poverty in the United States: A Tale of Devastation and the Promise of Hope

Abstract: “The child poverty rate in the United States is higher than in most similarly developed countries, making child poverty one of America’s most pressing social problems. This article provides an introduction of child poverty in the US, beginning with a short description of how poverty is measured and how child poverty is patterned across social groups and geographic space. I then examine the consequences of child poverty with a focus on educational outcomes and child health, and three pathways through which poverty exerts its influence: resources, culture, and stress. After a brief review of the anti-poverty policy and programmatic landscape, I argue that moving forward we must enrich the communities in which poor families live in addition to boosting incomes and directly supporting children’s skill development. I conclude with emerging research questions.”


Nonprofit Resources

Click on the images below to learn about Dallas-based nonprofits that are fighting child poverty with research, programs, and services.

Official Engage Dallas Community Partner: 

For Oak Cliff

Other Nonprofits: 

Child Poverty Action Lab
Vogel Alcove
United Way, Metropolitan Dallas
Interfaith Family Services

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