The deteriorating economic well-being of children portends less well-adjusted adults and a diminished economic future for America. A disproportionate share of today's poor children will become tomorrow's poor adults. This chapter discusses the concept, definition, and measurement of children's economic well-being and poverty. Children's current economic well-being is evaluated in comparative perspective—international, historical, and demographic. The chapter also evaluates the etiology of changes in children's absolute and relative economic well-being, focusing especially on the role of the changing family, parental employment, and levels of social provision for poor families. These “causes” are then evaluated in the context of recent public policy debates, including the devolution of federal welfare programs to the states.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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