Event 2203 SS&H, Andrews Conference Room

Child Poverty: Next Steps for Research and Policy
Greg Duncan, Distinguished Professor of Education, UC Irvine

Although child poverty rates have fallen by half in the past 50 years, 13% of U.S. children (9.7 million in all) live in families with incomes below the poverty line. Drawing from a recently released National Academy report on child poverty, I briefly summarize causal evidence on the consequences of poverty for children’s development as well as research on the impacts of anti-poverty programs such as food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit on development. Addressing a gap in evidence on the impact of poverty on very young children, I describe an ongoing experiment in which low-income mothers with newborns are randomly assigned to receive either smaller or larger monthly cash gifts over the first forty months of their children’s lives. Impacts on children’s cognitive and socioemotional development and on family processes thought to mediate the impacts of poverty on child well-being are both assessed. Finally, drawing again on the National Academy report, I review the success in reducing child poverty of twenty new programs and policy approaches.