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Child Poverty and InequalitySecuring a Better Future for America's Children$
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Duncan Lindsey

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305449

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305449.001.0001

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The Color of Child Poverty

The Color of Child Poverty

(p.11) 1 The Color of Child Poverty
Child Poverty and Inequality

Duncan Lindsey

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the current situation of child poverty in the United States. Two major factors define child poverty: single parenthood, and race and ethnicity. The United Nations recently reported that the United States had the highest child poverty rate among more than 30 industrialized nations studied. This is difficult to believe, given the fact that the United States is the wealthiest nation in the world. How could the wealthiest nation in the world have the highest child poverty rate? The answer, of course, is that the United States has what can best be described as two worlds of childhood. The highest rate of poverty is found among African-American and Latino children — several times higher than that found among White and Asian children. The poverty these children endure is often debilitating. The restrictions of opportunity that begin in the earliest years are carried into adolescence and young adulthood. As a consequence, the opportunity of getting a college education is out of reach for most children raised in the other world of poverty. The likelihood of getting a four-year college degree is less than 1 in 15 for children coming from poor families. The chapter explores the very different opportunity structures that exist in the two different worlds of childhood. It also examines the role of standardized testing in restricting the opportunities of poor and low-income children.

Keywords:   United States, child poverty, race, ethnicity, single parenthood, poor children

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