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A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty Committee on Building an Agenda to Reduce the Number of Children in Poverty by Half in 10 Years Greg Duncan and Suzanne Le Menestrel, Editors Board on Children, Youth, and Families and Committee on National Statistics Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education A Consensus Study Report of
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESSâ 500 Fifth Street, NWâ Washington, DC 20001 This activity was supported by contracts and grants between the National Acad- emy of Sciences and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Inc. (2017032); the Foundation for Child Development (NAS-03-2017); the Joyce Foundation (17- 37856); the Russell Sage Foundation (83-18-04); Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHSP233201400020B, Order No. HHSP2337058); the William T. Grant Foun- dation (187516); and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (P0130499). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-48398-8 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-48398-0 Library of Congress Control Number: 2019945735 Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25246 Additional copies of this publication are available for sale from the National Acad- emies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624- 6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu/25246. Copyright 2019 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2019). A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/25246.
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COMMITTEE ON BUILDING AN AGENDA TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN IN POVERTY BY HALF IN 10 YEARS GREG J. DUNCAN (Chair), University of California, Irvine J. LAWRENCE ABER, New York University DOLORES ACEVEDO-GARCIA, Brandeis University JANET CURRIE, Princeton University BENARD P. DREYER, New York University School of Medicine IRWIN GARFINKEL, Columbia University RON HASKINS, Brookings Institution HILARY HOYNES, University of California, Berkeley CHRISTINE JAMES-BROWN, Child Welfare League of America VONNIE C. McLOYD, University of Michigan ROBERT MOFFITT, Johns Hopkins University CYNTHIA OSBORNE, University of Texas at Austin ELDAR SHAFIR, Princeton University TIMOTHY SMEEDING, University of WisconsinâMadison DON WINSTEAD, JR., Don Winstead Consulting, LLC Study Staff SUZANNE LE MENESTREL, Study Director PAMELLA ATAYI, Program Coordinator SARAH BLANKENSHIP, Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow (January to April 2017) CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Senior Scholar REBEKAH HUTTON, Associate Program Officer (until March 2018) CHRIS MACKIE, Senior Program Officer (until April 2018) DARA SHEFSKA, Research Associate (from March 2018) ELIZABETH TOWNSEND, Associate Program Officer (from March 2018) v
BOARD ON CHILDREN, YOUTH, AND FAMILIES ANGELA DIAZ (Chair), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai HAROLYN BELCHER, Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine W. THOMAS BOYCE, University of California, San Francisco DAVID V. B. BRITT, Sesame Workshop (retired CEO) RICHARD F. CATALANO, University of Washington School of Social Work DIMITRI CHRISTAKIS, Seattle Childrenâs Research Institute, University of Washington JEFFREY W. HUTCHINSON, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences JACQUELINE JONES, Foundation for Child Development JAMES M. PERRIN, Harvard Medical School and MassGeneral Hospital for Children MARTIN J. SEPÃLVEDA, IBM Corporation (retired) MARTIN H. TEICHER, Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital JONATHAN TODRES, Georgia State University College of Law NATACHA BLAIN, Director vi
COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS ROBERT M. GROVES (Chair), Georgetown University FRANCINE BLAU, Cornell University MARY ELLEN BOCK, Purdue University ANNE C. CASE, Princeton University MICHAEL E. CHERNEW, Harvard University JANET CURRIE, Princeton University DONALD A. DILLMAN, Washington State University CONSTANTINE GATSONIS, Brown University JAMES S. HOUSE, University of Michigan THOMAS L. MESENBOURG, U.S. Census Bureau (retired) SARAH M. NUSSER, Iowa State University COLM A. OâMUIRCHEARTAIGH, The University of Chicago JEROME P. REITER, Duke University ROBERTO RIGOBON, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JUDITH A. SELTZER, University of California, Los Angeles EDWARD H. SHORTLIFFE, Columbia University and Arizona State University BRIAN HARRIS-KOJETIN, Director CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Senior Scholar vii
Acknowledgments T he U.S. Congress asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engi- neering, and Medicine to provide a nonpartisan, evidence-based report that would provide its assessment of the most effective means for reducing child poverty by half in the next 10 years. The National Acad- emies appointed the Committee on Building an Agenda to Reduce the Num- ber of Children in Poverty by Half in 10 Years to address its charge. The committee thanks the following sponsors of this study for their support: the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; the Foundation for Child Devel- opment; the Joyce Foundation; the Russell Sage Foundation; the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the William T. Grant Foundation; and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This report would not have been possible without the contributions of many people. Special thanks go to the members of the committee who dedicated extensive time, expertise, and energy to the drafting of the report. The committee also thanks the members of the staff of the National Academies for their significant contributions to the report: Suzanne Le Menestrel, Connie Citro, Rebekah Hutton, Chris Mackie, Dara Shefska, and Elizabeth Townsend. We also thank Jennifer Duer, University of California, Irvine, for her invaluable assistance in developing graphics and tables for the report. Pamella Atayi provided key administrative and logistical support and made sure that committee meetings ran smoothly. We also thank Michelle Burbage for her research assistance. ix
x ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The committee is also grateful to Azzure Beale, Anthony Bryant, and Lisa Alston for their administrative and financial assistance on this project. From the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education Office of Reports and Communication, Kirsten Sampson Snyder, Viola Horek, Patricia L. Morison, Douglas Sprunger, and Yvonne Wise shepherded the report through the review and production process and assisted with its communication and dissemination. The committee also thanks the National Academies Press staff, Clair Woolley and Holly Sten, for their assistance with the production of the final report; Daniel Bearss and Rebecca Morgan in the National Academies research library for their assistance with fact checking and literature searches; the reportâs editor, Marc DeFrancis, for his skillful and thoughtful editing; and Jay Christian for his elegant graphic design work. Finally, throughout the project, Natacha Blain, director of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Mary Ellen OâConnell, and Monica Feit provided helpful oversight. We also thank Melissa Welch-Ross for her helpful comments. Many individuals volunteered significant time and effort to address and educate the committee during our public information sessions. Their will- ingness to share their perspectives, research, and personal experiences was essential to the committeeâs work. We thank: MaryLee Allen, Childrenâs Defense Fund; Douglas Besharov, University of Maryland; Gary Bonner, Center for Urban Families; Roy Brooks, Tarrant County, Texas; Miles Corak, Graduate Center of the City University of New York; Marla Dean, Bright Beginnings; JesÃºs Gerena, Family Independence Initiative; Olivia Golden, Center for Law and Social Policy; Richard Hendra, MDRC; Tara Lobin, Fairfax County Public Schools; Nora Morales, Maryland Public Schools; Edgar Olsen, University of Virginia; Anita Sampson, Maryland Public Schools; Isabel Sawhill, Brookings Institution; Kelsey Schaberg, MDRC; Arloc Sherman, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Satira Streeter, Ascensions Psychological and Community Services, Inc; Bruce Western, Harvard University; and W. Bradford Wilcox, University of Virginia. We also thank the researchers who conducted original analyses and prepared commissioned papers for the committee: Randall Akee, University of California, Los Angeles and the Brookings Institution; Rosemary Hyson, Dahlia Remler, and Sanders D. Korenman, City University of New York; Thierry Kruten and Teresa Munzi, Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg; Emilia Simeonova, Johns Hopkins University; and Christopher Wimer, Columbia University. The committee would also like to extend a special acknowledgement to the Transfer Income Model Version 3 project team at The Urban Institute for their expert analyses, patience, thoroughness, and attention to detail: Linda Giannarelli, Joyce Morton, Kevin Werner, and Laura Wheaton.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xi The committee also thanks the following individuals for their contribu- tions to this study and the final report: Brian Baird, David Britt, Dorothy Duncan, Camille Gamboa, David H. Greenberg, Jeff Hutchinson, Arthur Lupia, Nancy McArdle, Clemens Noelke, Sheri Roder, Adam Thomas, and James Ziliak. Many individuals also submitted memos for the committeeâs consideration; a listing of these individuals can be found in Appendix C in this report. This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Eloise Anderson (retired), Department of Children and Families, State of Wisconsin; Lenette Azzi-Lessing, School of Social Work, Boston University; Robert Doar, Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies, American Enterprise Institute; Kenneth A. Dodge, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke Uni- versity; Kathryn J. Edin, Department of Sociology, Princeton University; GaryÂ W. Evans, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University; Wade F. Horn, Health and Human Services Marketplace Leader, Deloitte Consult- ing, LLC; Sara Rosenbaum, Department of Health Policy and Management, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington Univer- sity; H. Luke Schaefer, Poverty Solutions and Gerald R. Ford School of Pub- lic Policy, University of Michigan; Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University; Michael R. Strain, John G. Searle Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; Scott Winship, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and The University of Chicago; and Barbara L. Wolfe, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of WisconsinâMadison. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive com- ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by V. Joseph Hotz, Depart- ment of Economics, Duke University, and Joseph P. Newhouse, Harvard University. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the stan- dards of the National Academies and that all review comments were care- fully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies. One of the pleasures of serving on a National Academies committee such as ours is that it provides opportunities to strike up friendships with
xii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS individuals with very different interests and viewpoints. It also allows us to share in the joys and sorrows of fellow committee members. We dedicate this report to the memory of Joseph Smeeding, a bright young d Â octoral student at the University of Arizona and son of committee member T Â imothy Smeeding. He died on January 12, 2018, after a 2-year battle with Âglioblastoma multiforme. Greg Duncan, Chair Committee on Building an Agenda to Reduce the Number of Children in Poverty by Half in 10 Years
Contents Summary 1 1 Introduction 19 The Committeeâs Charge, 21 Temporal and Other Considerations Associated with the Statement of Task, 23 How the Committee Selected Programs to Review, 24 Considerations in Estimating Policy and Program Impacts, 26 Organization of the Report, 28 References, 30 2 A Demographic Portrait of Child Poverty in the United States 33 Measuring U.S. Child Poverty, 33 A Demographic Portrait of U.S. Child Poverty in 2015, 41 Historical Trends in Child Poverty, 1967â2016, 55 Child Poverty in the United States and Other English-Speaking Developed Countries, 57 References, 62 3 Consequences of Child Poverty 67 Why Childhood Poverty Can Matter for Child Outcomes, 68 Correlational Studies, 71 The Impact of Child Poverty, 73 Macroeconomic Costs of Child Poverty to Society, 89 References, 91 xiii
xiv CONTENTS 4 How the Labor Market, Family Structure, and Government Programs Affect Child Poverty 97 Forces that Shape Child Poverty, 97 The Changing Role of Government Taxes and Transfers, 106 Child-Related Income Transfers and Tax Benefits, 112 Effects of Income Transfers and Tax Benefits on Child Poverty in 2015, 116 Effects of Government Benefits on Child Poverty in the United States and Other English-Speaking Countries, 120 References, 128 5 Ten Policy and Program Approaches to Reducing Child Poverty, 133 Program and Policy Options in 10 Areas, 134 Modifications Examined for 10 Policy and Program Areas, 137 Impacts on Poverty, Cost, and Employment, 152 References, 168 6 Packages of Policies and Programs That Reduce Poverty and Deep Poverty Among Children 173 A Work-Based Poverty-Reduction Package, 174 A Work-Based and Universal Supports Poverty-Reduction Package, 176 A Means-Tested Supports and Work Poverty-Reduction Package, 182 A Universal Supports and Work Poverty-Reduction Package, 183 Simulating the Impacts of the Four Program Packages, 185 References, 194 7 Other Policy and Program Approaches to Child Poverty Reduction 195 Family Planning, 196 Family Composition, 200 Paid Family and Medical Leave, 204 Mandatory Employment Programs, 207 Block Grants, 210 The TANF Program, 213 Health, Health Insurance, and Measuring Poverty, 214 Policies Toward American Indian and Alaska Native Children, 217 References, 220
CONTENTS xv 8 Contextual Factors That Influence the Effects of Anti-Poverty Policies and Programs 227 Why Context Matters, 227 Six Major Contextual Factors, 228 Income Stability and Predictability, 229 Equitable and Ready Access to Programs, 233 Racial/Ethnic Discrimination, 237 Criminal Justice System Involvement, 239 Neighborhood Conditions, 242 Health and Disability, 245 References, 248 9 Recommendations for Research and Data Collection 257 Priority Areas for Research, 259 Improvements in Data Collection and Measurement, 265 Continued Monitoring and Program Evaluation, 270 Coordinating Research and Data Priorities Across Departments, 271 References, 273 APPENDIXES Note: Papers commissioned by the committee are available on the National Academies Press website at http://www.nap.edu/25246. A Biosketches of Committee Members and Staff 275 B Public Session Agendas 285 C Authors ofÂ Memos Submitted to the Committee 289 ON-LINE APPENDIXES (Available: http://www.nap.edu/25246 under the Resources tab) D Technical Appendixes to Select Chapters 291 2-1. A Brief History of Poverty Measurements in the United States 291 2-2. Types of Income-Based Poverty Measures and the Advantages of Using the Adjusted SPM for Policy Analysis 293 2-3. Consumption-Based Poverty Measures 310 2-4. How Equivalence Scales Are Used to Adjust Poverty Thresholds 318 2-5. Cost-of-Living Adjustments in Poverty Thresholds and Benefits 320
xvi CONTENTS 2-6. Differences Between the Resource Measures Used by the OPM and SPM Poverty Measures 325 2-7. Poverty Among American Indian and Alaska Native Children 325 2-8. The Changing Demography of Children, Including Children in Poverty 328 2-9. Distribution of Child Population Across Persistently High-Poverty Counties 332 2-10. Anchored and Unanchored Methods of Calculating SPM Poverty Over Time 345 2-11. Poverty Measurement Across Countries: Cross-Country Poverty Lines and Child Poverty Rates 350 3-1. Associations Between Poverty and Child Outcomes 362 4-1. Definitions Pertaining to Chapter 4 from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 392 4-2. Government Policies Affecting Child Poverty in Australia and Ireland 393 5-1. Adjusting Estimates of Poverty Reduction for Behavioral Effects 411 5-2. Modifications to the Earned Income Tax Credit 412 5-3. Modifications to Child Care Subsidies 415 5-4. Modifications to the Minimum Wage 417 5-5. Scaling Up WorkAdvance 419 5-6. Modifications to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 421 5-7. Modifications to Housing Programs 424 5-8. Modifications to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program 426 5-9. Introducing a Child Allowance 430 5-10. A Child Support Assurance Program 432 5-11. Changes in Immigrant Policies 434 5-12. Reducing Child Poverty through a Universal Basic Income 440 5-13. Construction of Summary Tables 5-1 and 5-2 443 E TRIM3 Summary Tables 455 F Urban Institute TRIM3 Technical Specifications: Using Microsimulation to Assess the Policy Proposals of the National Academies Committee on Reducing Child Poverty 457 Introduction 457 The TRIM3 Model and the 2015 Baseline 458
CONTENTS xvii Policy Changes to Reduce Child Poverty 482 Overview of Simulation Assumptions 483 EITC 487 Child Care Expenses 497 Minimum Wage 506 Employment Policy 518 SNAP 523 Hous ing 534 SSI 538 Child Allowances 541 Child Support Assurance 550 Immigrant Eligibility Policies 557 Basic Income Guarantee 565 Policy Packages 572 Simulations Using 2018 Tax Law 581 Summary and Caveats 584 References 592 About the Urban Institute 594