Child Poverty

October 28, 2011 • Volume 21, Issue 38
Are out-of-wedlock births the root cause?
By Peter Katel


Single parent Bonnie Baker, 27, and her three children to leave their one-bedroom apartment in Jackson, Mich (AP Photo/Kevin W. Fowler)
Cuts in welfare benefits are forcing single parent Bonnie Baker, 27, and her three children to leave their one-bedroom apartment in Jackson, Mich. Above, Baker and her daughters visit Baker's mother's home on Oct. 5, 2011; her brother is caring for her 10-year-old son. (AP Photo/Kevin W. Fowler)

One in five American children lives in a household with income below the poverty line — $22,050 for a family of four. Not only are the daily lives of poor children difficult, but experts worry that many will suffer lifelong effects from early deprivation. Concern about child poverty has grown especially strong amid a push in Congress for sweeping budget cuts, including reductions in spending on food stamps and other anti-poverty programs. As child poverty continues to rise amid the nation's persistent economic woes and high unemployment, a long-simmering debate over the problem's root causes is heating up. Liberals argue that fewer children would fall into poverty if the government safety net were stronger and more jobs were available for struggling parents. Conservatives, on the other hand, say child poverty largely stems from parental behavior — particularly a growing tendency to have children out of wedlock.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Poverty and Homelessness
Jan. 11, 2019  Domestic Poverty
Aug. 04, 2017  Poverty and Homelessness
Jul. 17, 2015  Fighting Urban Poverty
Oct. 10, 2014  Housing the Homeless
Oct. 28, 2011  Child Poverty
Sep. 07, 2007  Domestic Poverty Updated
Jun. 18, 2004  Ending Homelessness
Dec. 22, 2000  Hunger in America
Apr. 07, 2000  Child Poverty
Jan. 26, 1996  Helping the Homeless
Aug. 07, 1992  The Homeless
Mar. 30, 1990  Why Homeless Need More Than Shelter
Sep. 30, 1983  Hunger in America
Oct. 29, 1982  The Homeless: Growing National Problem
Jan. 25, 1967  Status of War on Poverty
Feb. 05, 1964  Persistence of Poverty
Jun. 06, 1956  Pockets of Poverty