Well-Being of Children in Working Poor and Other Families: 1997 and 2004: Research Brief. Changes in child well-being between 1997 and 2004

09/01/2008

The well-being of children in working poor families improved significantly for 10 of 15 measures that were available in both years.  For the remaining five measures, there was no statistically significant change.

In contrast, for the same 15 measures, the well-being of children in non-working poor families improved significantly for only five of 15 measures and deteriorated for four measures.

For example, as shown in Figure 1, among children in working poor families, the percentage in special classes for gifted students increased from 9 percent in 1997 to 14 percent in 2004.  Measures which improved for children in working poor families (see Tables 1-3) include:

How well a child is developing

  • Special classes for gifted students

How well a child will develop

  • Meals with mother
  • Meals with father
  • Parental aggravation
  • Mother involvement
  • Father involvement

Interaction with community

  • Participation in extracurricular activities
  • School engagement
  • Negative parental attitude toward community
  • Ever attended kindergarten

In contrast, among children in non-working poor families, the percentage of children in special classes for gifted students decreased from 12 percent to 9 percent.  Detailed 1997-2004 comparisons for all measures are presented in Tables 1-3.  These tables also present results for children in working families with incomes between 100 percent and 200 percent of the official poverty threshold and for children in working families with incomes greater than 200 percent of the poverty threshold.(4)

Figure 1.
Percentage of children in special classes for gifted students by family work and poverty status, 1997 and 2004

Figure 1. Percentage of Children in Special Classes for Gifted Students by Family Work and Poverty Status, 1997 and 2004. See text for explanation of chart.

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