This Week's Report: "Child Poverty"

An astonishing one in five American children lives below the poverty line, and experts on both sides of the liberal-conservative divide say child poverty is causing the gap between rich and poor to widen, staff writer Peter Katel writes in this week’s expanded CQ Researcher report, “Child Poverty.”

Children who grow up in poverty often suffer lifelong effects. “Children who are reared in poor families are more likely to fail in school, drop out of school, get arrested,” a scholar at the Brookings Institution told Katel. “And the earlier the poverty starts…, the more likely those bad things are to happen.”

Yet, while liberals and conservatives agree that child poverty is among the nation’s most insidious social problems, they are far apart when it comes to pinpointing root causes. Liberals say fewer children would be poor of the government safety net were stronger and more parents could find jobs. Conservatives say out-of-wedlock births are the biggest cause.

This valuable report is ideal for classes in sociology, social policy, economics, government and demography and for papers dealing with child development and the income gap.

--Thomas J. Billitteri, Managing Editor