Well-Being of Children in Working Poor and Other Families: 1997 and 2004. Endnotes


[i] The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 (H.R. 3734-9), Sec. 401, states that one of the purposes of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants is to promote job preparation, work, and marriage.  It also provides that recipients participate in work activities while receiving TANF benefits and requires that a beneficiary work after receiving benefits for 24 months.  It also provides (Section 411) that the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services transmit to Congress an annual report describing whether the States are meeting . . .  the objectives of increasing employment and earnings of needy families . . . .  Finally, Section 413 provides that the Secretary  may assist States in developing . . . innovative approaches for reducing welfare dependency and increasing the well-being of minor children living at home with respect to recipients of assistance under programs funded under this part.

[ii] For example, a 1998 review of research studies that predate welfare reform raised concerns about findings of negative outcomes for children in low-income families when employment is initiated during the first year of a childs life; and that child outcomes among employed mothers vary according to maternal wage level and that the quality of the home environment provided to young children can decline when mothers begin jobs that are low-wage and involve repetitive, unstimulating tasks.  See Zaslow, M., Tout, K., Zaslow, M. & Moore, K.A. (1998), Welfare Reform and Children: Potential Implications.  Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

[iii] DeNavas-Walt, Carmen, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Jessica Smith, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-233, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2007. 

[iv] Children are considered to be overweight if their body-mass index is at the 95th percentile or greater.

[v] This measure could also be thought of as a direct measure of how well a child is developing, since school engagement could be thought of as an end in itself. However, we have chosen to include it among the measures of interaction with the community because a school is arguably the most important community institution for a child or youth.

[vi] Among children in working families with incomes at least 200 percent of the poverty line, the corresponding percentage also increased  from 20 percent to 23 percent.  Among children in working families with incomes between 100 percent and 200 percent of the poverty line, the percentage of children enrolled in gifted and talented programs remained unchanged at 13 percent.

[vii] The percentage of children in more affluent working families did not change significantly between 1997 and 2004.

[viii] The corresponding difference for fathers was only significant at the .10 level.

[ix] The 10 measures are special classes for gifted students; meals with mother; meals with father; parental aggravation; mother involvement; father involvement; participation in extracurricular activities; school engagement; negative parental attitude toward community; and ever attended kindergarten

[x] We have omitted attendance at private schools and schools with a religious affiliation from the set of measures used here, since there isnt substantial research demonstrating their association with child well-being. The 12 measures are special classes for gifted students; ever repeated a grade; ever suspended or expelled from school; parental aggravation in parenting; mother involvement with child; mothers educational aspirations for child; fathers educational aspirations for child; ever lived apart from parents; childs participation in extracurricular activities; childs school engagement; positive parental attitude toward the community; and negative parental attitude toward community. 

[xi] Since all indexes have been constructed such that a higher value is associated with higher well-being, a negative coefficient means that the parent of children in non-working poor families is predicted to have more parental aggravation than the parent of children in working poor families.

[xii] As noted earlier in this report, due to the lack of a strong research base we do not count either attendance at religious schools or private schools as factors likely to promote child well-being.

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