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Children Among the Poor

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  • James Smith

Abstract

This article investigates a number of issues that clarify the premises underlying the assignment of children into poverty. Conventional definitions indicate much larger poverty rates among children than among adults. Three possible theoretical reasons for this greater representation of children among the poor are explored. It is shown that the most direct mechanism--poorer parents having more children--is of little importance. Instead, the greater incidence of poverty among children is the result of (1) a labor supply effect of children's reducing family income as mothers work less and (2) the assumption of greater household 'needs' when children are present. The research presented here also demonstrates that long-term permanent poverty rates among children are much lower than the conventional yearly measures.
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Suggested Citation

  • James Smith, 1989. "Children Among the Poor," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 26(2), pages 235-248, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:26:y:1989:i:2:p:235-248 DOI: 10.2307/2061522
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rosen, Sherwin, 2007. "Studies in Labor Markets," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226726304.
    2. Kilpatrick, Robert W, 1973. "The Income Elasticity of the Poverty Line," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 327-332.
    3. David Shapiro & Frank Mott, 1979. "Labor supply behavior of prospective and new mothers," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 16(2), pages 199-208, May.
    4. James P. Smith & Michael P. Ward, 2004. "Asset Accumulation and Family Size," Labor and Demography 0403001, EconWPA.
    5. Segal, Uzi, 1987. "The Ellsberg Paradox and Risk Aversion: An Anticipated Utility Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(1), pages 175-202, February.
    6. James Smith & Michael Ward, 1980. "Asset Accumulation And Family Size," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), pages 243-260.
    7. Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terence J, 1979. "Welfare Comparisons and Equivalence Scales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 216-221.
    8. Becketti, Sean, et al, 1988. "The Panel Study of Income Dynamics after Fourteen Years: An Evaluatio n," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(4), pages 472-492, October.
    9. James P. Smith, 2004. "Poverty and the Family," Labor and Demography 0403014, EconWPA.
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