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The strengths and abilities children develop from infancy through adolescence are crucial for their physical, emotional, and cognitive growth, which in turn help them to achieve success in school and to become responsible, economically self-sufficient, and healthy adults. Capable, responsible, and healthy adults are clearly the foundation of a well-functioning and prosperous society, yet America's future is not as secure as it could be because millions of American children live in families with incomes below the poverty line. A wealth of evidence suggests that a lack of adequate economic resources for families with children compromises these children's ability to grow and achieve adult success, hurting them and the broader society.

A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty reviews the research on linkages between child poverty and child well-being, and analyzes the poverty-reducing effects of major assistance programs directed at children and families. This report also provides policy and program recommendations for reducing the number of children living in poverty in the United States by half within 10 years.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780309483988
Publisher: National Academies Press
Publication date: 09/16/2019
Pages: 618
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Summary 1

1 Introduction 19

The Committee's Charge 21

Temporal and Other Considerations Associated with the Statement of Task 23

How the Committee Selected Programs to Review 24

Considerations in Estimating Policy and Program Impacts 26

Organization of the Report 28

References 30

2 A Demographic Portrait of Child Poverty in the United States 33

Measuring U.S. Child Poverty 33

A Demographic Portrait of U.S. Child Poverty in 2015 41

Historical Trends in Child Poverty, 1967-2016 55

Child Poverty in the United States and Other English-Speaking Developed Countries 57

References 62

3 Consequences of Child Poverty 67

Why Childhood Poverty Can Matter for Child Outcomes 68

Correlational Studies 71

The Impact of Child Poverty 73

Macroeconomic Costs of Child Poverty to Society 89

References 91

4 How the Labor Market, Family Structure, and Government Programs Affect Child Poverty 97

Forces that Shape Child Poverty 97

The Changing Role of Government Taxes and Transfers 106

Child-Related Income Transfers and Tax Benefits 112

Effects of Income Transfers and Tax Benefits on Child Poverty in 2015 116

Effects of Government Benefits on Child Poverty in the United States and Other English-Speaking Countries 120

Reference 128

5 Ten Policy and Program Approaches to Reducing Child Poverty 133

Program and Policy Options in 10 Areas 134

Modifications Examined for 10 Policy and Program Areas 137

Impacts on Poverty, Cost, and Employment 152

References 168

6 Packages of Policies and Programs That Reduce Poverty and Deep Poverty Among Children 173

A Work-Based Poverty-Reduction Package 174

A Work-Based and Universal Supports Poverty-Reduction Package 176

A Means-Tested Supports and Work Poverty-Reduction Package 182

A Universal Supports and Work Poverty-Reduction Package 183

Simulating the Impacts of the Four Program Packages 185

References 194

7 Other Policy and Program Approaches to Child Poverty Reduction 195

Family Planning 196

Family Composition 200

Paid Family and Medical Leave 204

Mandatory Employment Programs 207

Block Grants 210

The TANF Program 213

Health, Health Insurance, and Measuring Poverty 214

Policies Toward American Indian and Alaska Native Children 217

References 220

8 Contextual Factors That Influence the Effects of Anti-Poverty Policies and Programs 227

Why Context Matters 227

Six Major Contextual Factors 228

Income Stability and Predictability 229

Equitable and Ready Access to Programs 233

Racial/Ethnic Discrimination 237

Criminal Justice System Involvement 239

Neighborhood Conditions 242

Health and Disability 245

References 248

9 Recommendations for Research and Data Collection 257

Priority Areas for Research 259

Improvements in Data Collection and Measurement 265

Continued Monitoring and Program Evaluation 270

Coordinating Research and Data Priorities Across Departments 271

References 273


Note: Papers commissioned by the committee are available on the National Academies Press website at

A Biosketches of Committee Members and Staff 275

B Public Session Agendas 285

C Authors of Memos Submitted to the Committee 289

On-Line Appendixes (Available: under the Resources tab)

D Technical Appendixes to Select Chapters 291

2-1 A Brief History of Poverty Measurements in the United States 291

2-2 Types of Income-Based Poverty Measures and the Advantages of Using the Adjusted SPM for Policy Analysis 293

2-3 Consumption-Based Poverty Measures 310

2-4 How Equivalence Scales Are Used to Adjust Poverty Thresholds 318

2-5 Cost-of-Living Adjustments in Poverty Thresholds and Benefits 320

2-6 Differences Between the Resource Measures Used by the OPM and SPM Poverty Measures 325

2-7 Poverty Among American Indian and Alaska Native Children 325

2-8 The Changing Demography of Children, Including Children in Poverty 328

2-9 Distribution of Child Population Across Persistently High-Poverty Counties 332

2-10 Anchored and Unanchored Methods of Calculating SPM Poverty Over Time 345

2-11 Poverty Measurement Across Countries: Cross-Country Poverty Lines and Child Poverty Rates 350

3-1 Associations Between Poverty and Child Outcomes 362

4-1 Definitions Pertaining to Chapter 4 from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 392

4-2 Government Policies Affecting Child Poverty in Australia and Ireland 393

5-1 Adjusting Estimates of Poverty Reduction for Behavioral Effects 411

5-2 Modifications to the Earned Income Tax Credit 412

5-3 Modifications to Child Care Subsidies 415

5-4 Modifications to the Minimum Wage 417

5-5 Scaling Up Work Advance 419

5-6 Modifications to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 421

5-7 Modifications to Housing Programs 424

5-8 Modifications to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program 426

5-9 Introducing a Child Allowance 430

5-10 A Child Support Assurance Program 432

5-11 Changes in Immigrant Policies 434

5-12 Reducing Child Poverty through a Universal Basic Income 440

5-13 Construction of Summary Tables 5-1 and 5-2 443

E TRIM3 Summary Tables 455

F Urban Institute TRIM3 Technical Specifications: Using Micro simulation to Assess the Policy Proposals of the National Academies Committee on Reducing Child Poverty 457

Introduction 457

The TRIM3 Model and the 2015 Baseline 458

Policy Changes to Reduce Child Poverty 482

Overview of Simulation Assumptions 483

EITC 487

Child Care Expenses 497

Minimum Wage 506

Employment Policy 518

SNAP 523

Housing 534

SSI 538

Child Allowances 541

Child Support Assurance 550

Immigrant Eligibility Policies 557

Basic Income Guarantee 565

Policy Packages 572

Simulations Using 2018 Tax Law 581

Summary and Caveats 584

References 592

About the Urban Institute 594

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