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Brookings Institution

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Strained suburbs: The social service challenges of rising suburban poverty

Individual Author: 
Allard, Scott W.
Roth, Benjamin

Cities and suburbs occupy well-defined roles within the discussion of poverty, opportunity, and social welfare policy in metropolitan America. Research exploring issues of poverty typically has focused on central-city neighborhoods, where poverty and joblessness have been most concentrated. As a result, place-based U.S. antipoverty policies focus primarily on ameliorating concentrated poverty in inner-city (and, in some cases, rural) areas.

Local profiles of jobless young adults and strategies to connect them to employment

Individual Author: 
Ross, Martha
Holmes, Natalie

This report and accompanying interactive data tool provide a unique perspective on young adults ages 18-24 who are out of work, focusing on those in mid to large cities and counties. The authors use cluster analysis to segment out-of-work young adults into groups likely to benefit from similar types of employment and education-related assistance, based on factors such as educational attainment, work history, school enrollment, disability, English language proficiency, and family status.

The effects of maternal depression on early childhood development and implications for economic mobility

Individual Author: 
Reeves, Richard V.
Krause, Eleanor

We argue in Part 1 of this paper that maternal depression is an under-acknowledged factor in the intergenerational transmission of poverty, and lack of economic mobility. Specifically, we show that:

I. Poverty increases the risk of maternal depression;

II. Maternal depression can weaken attachment;

III. Weaker attachment can impair child development;

IV. Slower development can damage child outcomes; and

V. Worse child outcomes can increase the risk of future poverty.

An interactive exploration of the geography of prosperity

Individual Author: 
Nunn, Ryan
Parsons, Jana
Shambaugh, Jay

A new Hamilton Project interactive map, based on work from a recent Hamilton Project paper (The Geography of Prosperity), enables users to explore—down to the state and county level—where and how places are struggling or thriving throughout the United States. The Hamilton Project’s Vitality Index is a measure of a place’s economic and social wellbeing. It combines a county’s median household income, poverty rate, unemployment rate, prime-age employment rate, life expectancy, and housing vacancy rate. (Edited author introduction)


Work requirements and safety net programs

Individual Author: 
Bauer, Lauren
Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore
Shambaugh, Jay

Basic assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) and Medicaid ensure families have access to food and medical care when they are low-income. Some policymakers at the federal and state levels intend to add new work requirements to SNAP and Medicaid. In this paper, we analyze those who would be impacted by an expansion of work requirements in SNAP and an introduction of work requirements into Medicaid.

Pathways to high-quality jobs for young adults

Individual Author: 
Ross, Martha
Moore, Kristin Anderson
Murphy, Kelly
Bateman, Nicole
DeMand, Alex
Sacks, Vanessa

Helping young people prepare to engage in work and life as productive adults is a central challenge for any society. Yet, many young people in the United States find that the path from education to employment and economic security in adulthood is poorly marked or inaccessible. As a result, those from low-income and less educated families have lower rates of high school graduation, college enrollment, and college completion. Moreover, once they enter the labor market, they have lower employment rates and wages.

Is the Census Bureau’s supplemental poverty measure a relative measure of poverty?

Individual Author: 
Haskins, Ron
Moskowitz, Daniel
Smeeding, Timothy M.

The threshold for the Census Bureau’s new supplemental poverty measure, below which a family would be classified as poor, will be set based on annual expenditures on necessities— food, clothing, shelter, and utilities (FCSU)—among certain types of families. Some poverty experts argue that increases in income result in equivalent increases in expenditures on necessities, and thus, the poverty threshold will always rise together with median income.

Restoring work by poor fathers

Individual Author: 
Haskins, Ron
Mead, Lawrence M.

Low-skilled men, especially minorities, typically work at low levels and provide little support for their children. Conservatives blame this on government willingness to support families, which frees the fathers from responsibility, while liberals say that men are denied work by racial bias or the economy—either a lack of jobs or low wages, which depress the incentive to work. The evidence for all these theories is weak. Thus, changing program benefits or incentives is unlikely to solve the men’s work problem.

The responsiveness of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program during the Great Recession

Individual Author: 
Haskins, Ron
Albert, Vicky
Howard, Kimberly

The question addressed by this report is how the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program responded to increased unemployment during the Great Recession. Enacted in 1996, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, changing the culture of cash welfare by imposing strong work requirements backed by sanctions and a five-year time limit on benefit receipt.

Rebuilding communities job subsidies

Individual Author: 
Neumark, David

Poverty remains a persistent problem in many areas in the United States. Existing place-based policies—especially enterprise zones—have generally failed to provide benefits to the least advantaged. Drawing on lessons from the often-negative findings on effects of past place-based policies, but preserving the potential advantage of policies that try to improve economic outcomes in specific areas, I propose a new place-based policy—Rebuilding Communities Job Subsidies, or RCJS—to encourage job and income growth in areas of economic disadvantage.