Monday, July 12, 2010

Childhood Poverty and Adult Outcomes: A New Resource from The Urban Institute

In order to use data effectively – it is critical to look at the context in which the data exists. Looking at the child poverty rate – only provides point-in-time data on how many children are currently living in poverty. While this is incredibly important information, it doesn’t tell us how many children experience poverty in their lifetimes, or the effect that poverty has on life outcomes.

A new report, Childhood Poverty Persistence: Facts and Consequences, authored by
Caroline Ratcliffe and Signe-Mary McKernan of The Urban Institute, connects child poverty to outcomes in adulthood. The researchers examined the incidence and duration of poverty (for all children and then separately by race) and the outcomes for the same children at ages 25 to 30.

Using the University of Michigan’s Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the “study finds that 49 percent of children who are poor at birth go on to spend at least half their childhoods living in poverty. In addition, children who are born into poverty and spend multiple years living in poor families have worse adult outcomes than their counterparts in higher-income families”.

For policies to reduce child poverty.