Well-Being of Children in Working Poor and Other Families: 1997 and 2004. Measures of interaction with the community

09/01/2008

Participation in extracurricular activities.  Between 1997 and 2004, children in working poor families were the only group for whom the index of participation in extracurricular activities significantly increased (from 0.58 to 0.75 on an index which varies between 0 and 3).  In contrast, the corresponding indexes for children in families not making a substantial work effort, and both categories of children in more affluent working families did not change significantly.

In 2004, participation in extracurricular activities was significantly higher for children in working poor families (0.75) than for non-working poor families (0.56) but significantly lower than for working families with incomes more than twice the poverty line (1.18). 

School engagement.  Between 1997 and 2004, an index of school engagement increased significantly from 4.75 to 4.94 for children in working poor families, and there were similar increases for children in more affluent working families.  However, for children in non-working poor families, the index did not change significantly.

In 2004, school engagement was significantly higher for children in working poor families (4.94) than for non-working poor families (4.76) but significantly lower than for working families with incomes more than twice the poverty line (5.07).

Parental attitudes toward the community.  Between 1997 and 2004, the index of parents positive attitude toward the community deteriorated for both children in non-working poor families (12.55 to 12.21) and children in working families with incomes between 100 percent and 200 percent of the poverty line (13.66 to 13.29) but did not change significantly for children in working poor families and the most affluent working families.

The index of parents negative attitude toward the community improved only for children in working poor families (4.18 to 4.39) but did not change significantly for the other three groups of children.

In 2004, parents positive attitude toward the community was significantly better for children in working poor families (13.42) than for children in non-working poor families (12.21) but significantly lower than for working families with income more than twice the poverty line (14.63).

Similarly, parents negative attitude toward the community was significantly better for children in working poor families (4.39) than for children in non-working poor families (3.80) and significantly worse than for children in the most affluent working families (4.93).

Attendance at kindergarten.  The percentage of children that have ever attended kindergarten increased significantly from 83 percent in 1997 to 86 percent in 2004 for both children in working poor families and children in non-working poor families and from 85 percent to 88 percent for children in working families with incomes between 100 percent and 200 percent of the poverty line.  The corresponding percentage for children in the most affluent working families remained unchanged at 89 percent.

In 2004, the percentage of children who have ever attended kindergarten was the same (86 percent) for children in working poor families and children in non-working poor families.  This was lower than the corresponding percentages for children in working families with incomes between 100 percent and 200 percent of the poverty threshold (88 percent) and children in working families with incomes over 200 percent of the poverty line (89 percent).

Attendance at private schools.  Between 1997 and 2004, the percentage of children in working poor families attending private schools increased sharply from 4 percent to 7 percent but remained unchanged at 4 percent for children in non-working poor families.  Surprisingly, the percentage of children in more affluent working families declined between 1997 and 2004  from 7 percent to 6 percent for children in working families with incomes between 100 percent and 200 percent of the poverty threshold, and from 13 percent to 11 percent in for children in the most affluent working families.

In 2004, 7 percent of children in working poor families attended private school compared with only 4 percent of children in non-working poor families.  Eleven percent of children in working families with incomes above 200 percent of the poverty threshold attended private school.

Attendance at schools with a religious affiliation. Between 1997 and 2004, the percentage of children in working poor families attending schools with a religious affiliation increased from 3 percent to 5 percent.  The corresponding percentage for children in non-working poor families was 2 percent in both years. There was decreased attendance at schools with a religious affiliation for both children in working families with incomes between 100 percent and 200 percent of the poverty line and children in working families with incomes over 200 percent of the poverty line (5 percent to 4 percent, and 10 percent to 9 percent, respectively).

In 2004, children in working poor families were more likely than children in non-working poor families to attend schools with a religious affiliation.  Children in the most affluent working families were the most likely to attend such schools.

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