Poverty in America: How We Can Help Families

For every distressing national poverty statistic, the numbers for children are worse. While one-sixth of all Americans live in poverty and one-third live in “near poverty,” with incomes below twice the poverty level, one fourth of children under age five are poor and nearly half fall into the “near poor” category.

Millions of these are in families whose parents have incomes too low to lift them into the middle class. Yet national and state policies and programs supporting young children’s development-such as home visits by nurses to improve health and parenting-rarely focus on parents who are also workers. And policies to help low-wage workers infrequently hone in on the best ways to help parents. Understanding how the worlds of working parents and their children overlap can help define an agenda for both generations.

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