chapter  2
32 Pages

The Impact of Growing Up Poor or Welfare-Dependent on the Economic Status of Young Adults

Concern about the long-term effects of growing up poor or in welfare-dependent families resurged in the 1980s as poverty rates in the United States climbed to 15 percent, public assistance expenditures soared to $69 billion, and the number of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) recipients grew to approximately 11 million (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990). This concern was reinforced by empirical studies (e.g., Congress of the

United States, 1990; Danziger & Gottschalk, 1993; Ellwood, 1988; Tienda & Jensen, 1988) which reported continued high poverty rates (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1991a), increased numbers of workers with low earnings (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1991b), increased income inequality, particularly between minorities and Anglos (Danziger & Gottschalk, 1993), and a growing concentration of poor blacks and Latinos in inner-city poverty neighborhoods (Massey & Denton, 1993; Santiago & Wilder, 1991; Wilson, 1987).