Been on the rise in the united states and in several

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been on the rise in the United States and in several other Western countries, and it is much higher than it was 30 years ago. Let’s examine this problem by considering recent trends in child poverty in the United States, looking at divergent poverty rates among children and the elderly, and comparing American child poverty to that in other industrialized countries. Trends in Child Poverty in the United States Poverty can be measured in a number of ways. In the United States, the official poverty rate provided by the Census Bureau reflects an absolute measure of poverty that is supposed to represent the dollar amount a family needs to achieve a “minimally adequate” standard of living (Bianchi, 1993). The absolute rate is misleading for several reasons. First, it is based on pretax rather than after-tax income and does not take into account access to resources such as food stamps and medical coverage. Poverty measures that take tax and income transfer resources into account are used to figure what is normally referred to as the posttax and transfer poverty rate. Second, many argue that poverty is a relative concept and that what is considered “minimally adequate” varies as average living standards increase or decrease Copyright ©2018 by SAGE Publications, Inc. This work may not be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without express written permission of the publisher. Draft Proof - Do not copy, post, or distribute
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316 PART FOUR: Children, Social Problems, and the Future of Childhood (Bianchi, 1993, p. 94; Hernandez, 1994, p. 13; also see Hernandez, Denton, & Macartney, 2007a, for a discussion of various measures of child poverty in the United States especially as it pertains to minority and immigrant chil- dren). Those who believe in the importance of using relative measures of poverty normally set the poverty rate between 40% and 50% of the median income of all families in a particular community or country at a given time. For a variety of reasons, different reports of child poverty in the United States and other countries are based on different poverty measures. This leads to a great deal of confusion and distortion in political debates about the extent and causes of child poverty. In our discussion, we will always be clear about the particular measure being used and why it is most relevant given a particular comparison. In terms of absolute measures of poverty, the proportion of children who lived in poverty in the United States in the late 1930s was very high (nearly 70%) but declined dramatically in the 1940s and 1950s as the country emerged from the Great Depression and enjoyed an economic boom after World War II. The rate continued to drop in the 1960s, reaching a low of 14% in 1969. Child poverty increased in the 1970s and early 1980s as eco- nomic growth slowed and the country suffered through several recessions.
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