Childhood Poverty

Implications for School Readiness and Early Childhood Education

Authored by: Rebecca M. Ryan , Rebecca C. Fauth , Jeanne Brooks-Gunn

Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  January  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415884341
eBook ISBN: 9780203841198
Adobe ISBN: 9781136897023

10.4324/9780203841198.ch20

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Abstract

In 2009, over 1 in 5 children under age 6 in the United States were living below the official poverty threshold, which means that their before-tax income fell at or below a federally established threshold, which in 2009 was $17,285 for a single parent with two children (DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, & Smith, 2010). The number of all children living in poverty has increased by over 33% since 2000, with 3.8 million more children living in poverty today. Proportions are even higher for Black and Hispanic children, with 36% of Black children and 33% of Hispanic children living in poverty in 2009, compared to 12% of White children (DeNavas-Walt et al., 2010). Families living in “deep poverty,” with incomes below 50% of the poverty threshold, represent 43% of the poverty population in the United States, indicating that many families with children subsist well below the actual poverty threshold, which is already quite modest. Children in poverty not only lack basic financial resources, but they also suffer hardships that often accompany poverty, such as inadequate food, clothing, housing, and health care (Haveman & Wolfe, 1994). Not surprisingly, these conditions have serious consequences for children’s health and development.

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