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Welfare, Poverty, and Financial Strain In Urban African American Families with Adolescent Daughters


  • Rebekah Levine Coley
  • P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale


Using a representative sample of African American adolescent girls in impoverished urban neighborhoods in Chicago, we consider income-related predictors (poverty, financial strain, welfare receipt, and welfare exposure) of adolescents' job preparation and nonmarital childbearing risk. The most consistent predictor is maternal financial strain, linked to poor adjustment in all arenas of adolescent functioning. Maternal welfare receipt predicts higher school grades in youth, but welfare exposure is related to lower grades and greater pregnancy experience. We discuss implications for families as federal welfare reforms alter the income sources and financial situations of many poor families.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebekah Levine Coley & P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, 1999. "Welfare, Poverty, and Financial Strain In Urban African American Families with Adolescent Daughters," JCPR Working Papers 116, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:116

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lundberg, Shelly & Plotnick, Robert D, 1995. "Adolescent Premarital Childbearing: Do Economic Incentives Matter?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 177-200, April.
    2. Maynard, Rebecca, 1995. "Teenage childbearing and welfare reform: Lessons from a decade of demonstration and evaluation research," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 309-332.
    3. Andrew Cherlin & Kathleen Kiernan & P. Chase-Lansdale, 1995. "Parental divorce in childhood and demographic outcomes in young adulthood," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(3), pages 299-318, August.
    4. Laura D. Pittman & P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, 1999. "African American Adolescent Girls in Impoverished Communities: Quality of Parenting and Adolescent Outcomes," JCPR Working Papers 119, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    5. An, Chong-Bum & Haveman, Robert & Wolfe, Barbara, 1993. "Teen Out-of-Wedlock Births and Welfare Receipt: The Role of Childhood Events and Economic Circumstances," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 195-208, May.
    6. Mignon R. Moore & P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, 1999. "Sexual Intercourse and Pregnancy among African American Adolescent Girls in High-Poverty Neighborhoods: The Role of Family and Perceived Community Environment," JCPR Working Papers 117, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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