This report examines how summertime experiences affect school-age children (rising K–12) across four areas of well-being: (1) academic learning and opportunities for enrichment; (2) social and emotional development; (3) physical and mental health and health-promoting behaviors; and (4) safety, risk-taking, and anti- and pro-social behavior. Key terms not explicitly defined in the report narrative are defined in this glossary, along with synonyms used interchangeably. To the extent possible, the report narrative uses these definitions, although the literatures the committee draws on are not always precise or consistent in how the very same terms, and ones closely related, are used. Indeed, often familiar terms are used without explicit definition, relying instead on how they are commonly understood. When reporting content from original sources, we defer to their language usage, noting instances where there might be risk of confusion.
Terms Related to Poverty, Family, Income, and Material Well-Being
Poverty: The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) reflects economic need based on expenses in today’s economy (such as child care and transportation) as well as noncash benefits (e.g., SNAP), taxes, and tax credits. The SPM “poverty line” is based on what people generally spend on basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, and utilities), plus a little extra for other expenses such as household supplies. It is based on the low end of costs in the past 5 years. SPM poverty thresholds can be lower or higher than Office of Personnel Management levels because of adjustments made for housing costs.
The breakdowns for levels of poverty are
- near poverty: greater than the poverty line but <150% of the poverty line (some sources use <100%)
- poverty: <100% of the poverty line
- deep poverty: <50% of the poverty line
When contrasted against poverty-level incomes specifically, low income, lower income, low income families/households, and lower income families/households all refer to incomes between 100 and 200 percent of the poverty line; otherwise the terms are used more broadly as referencing income below 200 percent of the poverty line.
Family socioeconomic status (SES) or standing: Socioeconomic status, referring to the social standing or class of an individual or group, is typically measured by some combination of education, income, and/or occupational level. There are no generally agreed upon criteria for distinguishing among discrete SES levels. Accordingly, such distinctions connote relative standing, for example, lower family SES; higher family SES.
Educational attainment level: The highest degree or the highest level of schooling completed.
Unemployed: All civilians ages 16 and older are classified as unemployed if they (1) were neither “at work” nor “with a job but not at work” during the reference week, and (2) were actively looking for work during the past 4 weeks, and (3) were available to accept a job. Also included as unemployed are civilians who did not work at all during the reference week, were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been laid off, and were available for work except for temporary illness.
High poverty or concentrated poverty neighborhood: Concentrated poverty describes areas, often census tracts, where a high proportion of residents are poor. Poverty areas are those in which at least 20 percent of residents are poor; extreme or concentrated poverty areas are those in which at least 40 percent of residents are poor. Such areas, neighborhoods, or communities (used interchangeably in this report) often are characterized as distressed areas or areas of concentrated poverty.
Terms Related to Race/Ethnicity and Nativity:
The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) identifies five minimum race categories (White, Black or African American, American Indian
or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander). The OMB identifies two minimum ethnicity categories (Hispanic or Latino and Not Hispanic or Latino). OMB considers race and Hispanic origin to be two separate and distinct concepts. Hispanics and Latinos may be of any race.
Hispanic/Latino/Latinx: When referencing census data or statistics or studies that use census data in this report, the committee uses the OMB definition for the terms Hispanic and Latino1: A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. In all other instances, the committee uses the committee uses the term Latinx to refer to these groups.
Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who self-identify as “Black or African American.” Persons in the United States of Afro-Caribbean descent often are included in the category Black or African American.
American Indian: An individual who self-identifies as being of American Indian descent. The United States recognizes 42 broad categories of tribes, or tribal groupings for American Indians.
Native or Indigenous Peoples: Persons and communities that self-identify as American Indian, Alaskan, or Hawaiian.
White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes those who self-identify as “White” or “Caucasian.”
Nativity status: Refers to whether a person is native or foreign born.
English learners: The federal definition of an English learner (EL)—sometimes referred to as English language learner (ELL) or English as a second language (ESL) student—as articulated in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), is currently defined in Section 8101 of ESEA as follows: “The term English Learner, when used with respect to an individual, means an individual—(A) who is aged 3 through 21; (B) who is enrolled or preparing to enroll in an elementary school or secondary school; (C)(i) who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; (ii)(I) who is a Native American or Alaska Native, or a native resident of the outlying areas; and (II) who
comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual’s level of English language proficiency; or (iii) who is migratory, whose native language is a language other than English, and who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; and (D) whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language may be sufficient to deny the individual—(i) the ability to meet the challenging State academic standards; (ii) the ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English; or (iii) the opportunity to participate fully in society. These children are sometimes referred to as English Language Learners (ELL) or English as Second Language students (ESL).”
Immigrant: According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), immigrants are foreign-born persons who obtain legal permanent residence in the United States.
Childhood and Youth K–12
Childhood: The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)2 distinguishes three periods of growth and human development relevant to this report: early childhood (ages 3–8), middle childhood (ages 9–11), and adolescence (ages 12–18). Some usage distinguishes among early adolescence (under age 14), mid-adolescence (ages 15–17), and late adolescence/early adulthood (ages 18–24).
Early childhood overlaps the preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary school years; middle childhood overlaps the later years of elementary school; adolescence overlaps the typical middle school grade structure (grades 6–8) through high school. This correspondence is only approximate, as are the age boundaries used to distinguish periods of key physical and cognitive developmental milestones.
Youth: The United Nations defines the boundaries of youth as ages 15–24, overlapping late adolescence and early adulthood. A broader construction of youth encompasses the entire range of ages and levels of schooling from grades K–12.
This report reserves the terms childhood for grades K–5 and adolescence/youth for grades 6–12 unless the literature being referenced uses the more general construction.