Jane Waldfogel's research while affiliated with CUNY Graduate Center and other places

Publications (256)

Article
Full-text available
Child outcomes vary by family’s socioeconomic status (SES). Research on explanatory factors underlying early SES-related disparities has mainly focused on specific child outcomes (e.g., language skills) and selected influencing factors in single countries often with a focus on individual differences but not explicitly on early SES-related gaps. Thi...
Article
Full-text available
This study takes a cross-country perspective to examine whether inaccurate teacher judgements of students’ math skills correlate with student social origin and whether such bias is associated with math achievement in primary school. We focus on England, Germany, and the US because these countries differ in the teachers’ growth mindsets, accountabil...
Article
Official poverty estimates for the United States are presented annually, based on a family unit's annual resources, and reported with a considerable lag. This study introduces a framework to produce monthly estimates of the Supplemental Poverty Measure and official poverty measure, based on a family unit's monthly income, and with a two‐week lag. W...
Article
Background and Purpose Child protective service (CPS) contact is consistently linked with poverty in the US, and empirical evidence is mounting to indicate that disparate exposure to income poverty explains a substantial portion of racial inequities in CPS involvement. Evidence about the different distributions of income poverty and material hardsh...
Article
Child protective service (CPS) contact occurs at substantially higher rates among Black than White families. The present study considers systemic racism as a central driver of this disparity and emphasizes racialized poverty as a possible mechanism. We used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study and logistic regression analyses to...
Article
Full-text available
The United States is one of the few countries that does not guarantee paid family leave (PFL) to workers. Proposals for PFL legislation are often met with opposition from employer organizations, which fear disruptions to business, especially among small employers. But there are limited data on employers’ views. The authors surveyed firms with 10 to...
Article
Full-text available
Children born to unmarried parents make up an increasing share of American children. But official poverty statistics provide little insight into their economic well-being because these statistics use an outdated definition of the family unit and an incomplete measure of family resources. Using Current Population Survey data and an improved measure...
Article
Paid family leave allows workers to take time off from work to care for a family member with a serious health condition, with reduced financial risk and increased job continuity. In 2004, California was the first state in the nation to implement a paid family leave program allowing workers to take up to 8 weeks off work with partial pay to care for...
Article
Children experiencing poverty or low incomes fare worse than their more advantaged peers on a host of developmental and educational outcomes. Interventions have focused on strengthening parenting in families with young children, when supports appear to be most critical. But most parenting programs for low-income families fail to address parents’ ec...
Article
The United States is the only high‐income country that does not have a national policy mandating paid leave to working women who give birth. Increased rates of maternal employment post‐birth call for greater understanding of the effects of family leave on infant development. This study examined the links between paid leave and toddler language, cog...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background More than 20% of the children around the world were stunted in 2018. The situation is not any better in Latin American countries, even though stunting prevalence has been declining since 2000. Stunting has adverse consequences on children: severe short- and long-term health and functional effects, poor cognition and educational performan...
Article
Empirical research repeatedly shows cross-country differences in the extent and distribution of socioeconomic inequalities in educational achievement. This observation is the starting point for the comparative DICE-project (Development of Inequalities in Child Educational Achievement: A Six-Country Study). It aims to improve the understanding of ch...
Article
Objective Research shows that population-level rates of obesity, which rose dramatically from the 1970s through the mid-2000s, have since plateaued or even started to decline. However, overall improvements may mask differences in trends for different subgroups. For instance, obesity rates have continued to climb among low-income adolescents, leadin...
Article
This study examines the socioeconomic status gradients in children's well-being at school using data on the total population of Danish public school children age 6-11 (N = 147,994). Children completed the national well-being at school survey, an environment-specific self-report of satisfaction with school, social well-being at school, and psycholog...
Preprint
The United States is the only high-income country that does not have a national policy mandating paid leave to working women who give birth. Increased rates of maternal employment post-birth call for greater understanding of the effects of family leave on infant development. This study examined the links between paid leave and toddler language, cog...
Article
State approaches to reducing child poverty vary considerably. We exploit this state-level variation to estimate what could be achieved in terms of child poverty if all states adopted the most generous or inclusive states’ policies. Specifically, we simulate the child poverty reductions that would occur if every state were as generous or inclusive a...
Article
Objective To study the effect of California's first in the nation paid family leave policy on maternal ostpartum psychological distress for women overall and for disadvantaged groups. Methods We use restricted data from 11 waves of the National HealthInterview Survey, from 2000 to 2010, to examine mothers with children under the age of 12 months (...
Article
Full-text available
Paternity leave-taking is believed to benefit children by encouraging father-child bonding after a birth and enabling commitments to fathers’ engagement. Yet, no known U.S. studies have directly focused on the associations between paternity leave-taking and children’s reports of father-child relationships. Understanding the potential consequences o...
Article
Full-text available
Although the gender wage gap in the United States has narrowed, women’s career trajectories diverge from men’s after the birth of children, suggesting a potential role for family-friendly policies. We provide new evidence on employer provision of these policies. Using the American Time Use Survey, we find that women are less likely than men to have...
Article
Recent research using an improved measure of poverty finds that poverty has fallen by nearly forty percent since the 1960s in the United States. But past research has not examined whether this finding holds across detailed demographic groups who might be more or less vulnerable to poverty. This paper helps fill that gap, focusing on one such vulner...
Article
A growing body of research has begun to examine disparities in children’s early executive functions (EF), but few studies have examined disparities in EF based on parent education and whether parental beliefs regarding education and types of parental investments in early learning help explain them. The purpose of this study was to examine dispariti...
Article
For many decades there has been research on the relationship between parents' socioeconomic status (SES) and their children's cognitive skills. Meta-analyses for school aged children show correlations ranging from r=.22 up to r=.42 for different cognitive and scholastic assessment tests (White, 1982; Sirin, 2005; Sackett et al., 2009). With publica...
Article
Full-text available
Public charge, a term used by immigration officials for over 100 years, refers to a person who relies on public assistance at the government’s expense. Immigrants who are deemed at high risk of becoming a public charge can be denied green cards; those outside of the United States can be denied entry. Current public charge policy largely applies to...
Article
This article examines the state of social work scholarship in contemporary social policy using three illustrative domains: antipoverty policy, child welfare policy, and health policy. We argue that social work has a comparative advantage in social policy research as a practice profession and a profession with a social justice mission. In each domai...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has documented significantly larger income-related gaps in children’s early cognitive development in the United States than in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. In this study, we investigate the extent to which this is a result of a more unequal income distribution in the United States. We show that although incomes are m...
Preprint
"Public charge," a term used by U.S. immigration officials for more than 100 years, refers to a person who relies on, or is likely to rely on, public assistance at the government's expense. Foreign-born individuals who are deemed at high risk of becoming a public charge can be denied green cards; those outside of the U.S. can be denied entry. Curre...
Article
Full-text available
According to the Supplemental Poverty Measure, state-level poverty rates range from a low of less than 10 percent in Iowa to a high of more than 20 percent in California. We seek to account for these differences using a theoretical framework proposed by Brady, Finnigan, and Hübgen (2017), which emphasizes the prevalence of poverty risk factors as w...
Article
The use of savings products to promote financial inclusion has increasingly become a policy priority across sub‐Saharan Africa, yet little is known about how families respond to varying levels of savings incentives and whether the promotion of incentivized savings in low‐resource settings may encourage households to restrict expenditures on basic n...
Article
Full-text available
We examined the associations between preschool attendance and academic school readiness at kindergarten entry among 5-year-old children of immigrant mothers in the United States using data from a US nationally representative sample (Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Birth Cohort, N = 1650). Comparing children who were in preschool (Head Start, pre...
Article
Full-text available
Although many studies have investigated links between maternal employment and children’s wellbeing, less research has considered whether the stability of maternal employment is linked with child outcomes. Using unique employment calendar data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 2,011), an urban birth cohort study of largely low...
Article
Full-text available
To reduce child poverty and income instability, and eliminate extreme poverty among families with children in the United States, we propose converting the Child Tax Credit and child tax exemption into a universal, monthly child allowance. Our proposal is based on principles we argue should undergird the design of such policies: universality, access...
Article
Purpose: Nearly 12 million children and adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Within sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda has been greatly impacted, with an estimated 1.2 million orphaned children, nearly half of which have experienced parental loss due to the epidemic. Cost-effective and scalable interventions are needed...
Article
This study examined factors associated with being paid for sick leave after implementation of the New York City (NYC) paid sick leave law. A random sample of NYC residents was surveyed by telephone multiple times over a 2-year period. Participants (n = 1195) reported socio-demographics, awareness of the law, income, work hours per week, and payment...
Article
Full-text available
This study estimates the associations of income with both (self-reported) child protective services involvement and parenting behaviors that proxy for child abuse and neglect risk among unmarried families. Our primary strategy follows the instrumental variables approach employed by Dahl and Lochner (2012), which leverages variation between states a...
Article
Using difference-in-difference and difference-in-difference-in-difference designs, we study California's Paid Family Leave (CA-PFL) program, the first source of government-provided paid parental leave available to fathers in the Unites States. Relative to the pre-treatment mean, fathers of infants in California are 46 percent more likely to be on l...
Article
Full-text available
Associations between first-year maternal employment and mother—and youth-reported externalizing behavior at age 15 were examined paying attention to potential mediating roles of home and child care environments by 36 months, effortful control at 54 months, and externalizing behavior at 54 months and middle childhood. We used data from the NICHD Stu...
Article
Poverty has a strong relationship to geography in the United States. Previous research has found that rural areas have higher average poverty rates than urban areas, but the new supplemental poverty measure (SPM) has shown in recent years that urban areas have higher average poverty. In this article, we analyze poverty trends from 1967 to 2014 in r...
Article
We use data from the Current Population Survey and the new Supplemental Poverty Measure to provide estimates for poverty among foster children from 1992 to 2013. These are the first large-scale, national estimates for foster children because they are not included in official poverty statistics. Holding child and family demographics constant, foster...
Article
Between 1968 and 2013, the poverty rate of young children age 0 to 5 years fell by nearly one third, in large part because of the role played by anti-poverty programs. However, young children in the U.S. still face a much higher rate of poverty than do older children in the U.S. They also continue to have a much higher poverty rate than do young ch...
Article
A growing literature connects childhood socio-emotional skills to adult socio-economic outcomes. But what explains differing levels of socio-emotional skills? Current theories consider parental investment and socialisation, but neglect the emotional and relational aspects of parenting. Attachment theory offers a model of the micro-level mechanisms...
Article
Full-text available
Official poverty statistics have been criticized, however, for being based on an outdated measure of poverty (Blank, 2008; Citro and Michael, 1995). First put into use in the 1960s, the official poverty measure’s (OPM) concept of needs has been updated for inflation but still reflects the living standards, family budgets, and family structures of t...
Article
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently developed a substantially improved measure of poverty, the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The SPM has only been released since 2009, and prior efforts by researchers to construct a historical SPM time series have not taken into account an essential element of the new measure -...
Article
This paper examines the association between the Great Recession and four measures of the risk for maternal child abuse and neglect: (1) maternal physical aggression; (2) maternal psychological aggression; (3) physical neglect by mothers; and (4) supervisory/exposure neglect by mothers. It draws on rich longitudinal data from the Fragile Families an...
Article
Full-text available
This study compares the early life experiences of kindergarteners in 1998 and 2010 using two nationally representative data sets. We find that (a) young children in the later period are exposed to more books and reading in the home, (b) they have more access to educational games on computers, and (c) they engage with their parents more, inside and...
Article
This paper provides new evidence on the family gap in pay—the differential in hourly wages between women with children and women without children—between 1967 and 2013, five decades that include important changes in women's employment, especially mothers' employment, policy reforms as well as contrasting economic cycles. We use data from the Curren...
Article
This study examines historical trends in poverty using an anchored version of the U.S. Census Bureau’s recently developed Research Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) estimated back to 1967. Although the SPM is estimated each year using a quasi-relative poverty threshold that varies over time with changes in families’ expenditures on a core basket o...
Article
Full-text available
We use data from the 1968–2013 October Current Population Survey to document trends in 3- and 4-year-old children’s enrollment in center-based early childhood education, focusing on gaps in enrollment among children from low-, middle-, and high-income families. We find that income-related gaps in enrollment widened in the 1970s and 1980s but appear...
Article
Unprecedented global forces are shaping the health and wellbeing of the largest generation of 10 to 24 year olds in human history. Population mobility, global communications, economic development, and the sustainability of ecosystems are setting the future course for this generation and, in turn, humankind. At the same time, we have come to new und...
Article
Young people's health has emerged as a neglected yet pressing issue in global development. Changing patterns of young people's health have the potential to undermine future population health as well as global economic development unless timely and effective strategies are put into place. We report the past, present, and anticipated burden of diseas...
Article
The official measure of poverty has been used to assess trends in children's poverty rates for many decades. But because of flaws in official poverty statistics, these basic trends have the potential to be misleading. We use an augmented Current Population Survey data set that calculates an improved measure of poverty to reexamine child poverty rat...
Article
The New York City (NYC) Longitudinal Study of Wellbeing, or “Poverty Tracker,” is a survey of approximately 2300 NYC residents. Its purpose is to provide a multidimensional and dynamic understanding of economic disadvantage in NYC. Measures of disadvantage were collected at baseline and a 12-month follow-up, and include 3 types of disadvantage: 1)...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Maternal labor force participation has increased dramatically over the last 40 years, yet surprisingly little is known about longitudinal patterns of maternal labor force participation in the years after a birth, or how these patterns vary by education. Objective: We document variation by maternal education in mothers' labor force pa...
Article
This article examines associations between the Great Recession and 4 aspects of 9-year olds' behavior-aggression (externalizing), anxiety/depression (internalizing), alcohol and drug use, and vandalism-using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal birth cohort drawn from 20 U.S. cities (21%, White, 50% Black, 26% Hispanic, an...
Article
This paper examines how the quality of early childhood education and care accessed by three and four year olds in England varies by children’s background. Focusing on the free entitlement to early education, the analysis combines information from three administrative datasets for 2010-11, the Early Years Census, the Schools Census and the Ofsted in...
Article
Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey and the March Current Population Survey, we provide poverty estimates for 1967 to 2012 based on a historical supplemental poverty measure (SPM). During this period, poverty, as officially measured, has stagnated. However, the official poverty measure (OPM) does not account for the effect of near-cash...
Book
The belief that with hard work and determination, all children have the opportunity to succeed in life is a cherished part of the American Dream. Yet, increased inequality in America has made that dream more difficult for many to obtain. In Too Many Children Left Behind, an international team of social scientists assesses how social mobility varies...
Article
In recent years, several OECD countries have taken steps to promote policies encouraging fathers to spend more time caring for young children, thereby promoting a more gender equal division of care work. Evidence, mainly for the United States and United Kingdom, has shown fathers taking some time off work around childbirth are more likely to be inv...
Article
This study used the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study to examine the effects of repeated exposure to harsh parenting on child externalizing behavior across the first decade of life, and a moderating role for cumulative ecological risk. Maternal report of harsh parenting, defined as high frequency spanking, was assessed at age 1, 3, 5, and...
Article
Head Start includes family-oriented services to enhance parent–child relationships, but little is known about the effect of Head Start on parenting practices. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Birth Cohort (n ≈ 7000), we examined whether participation in Head Start was associated with maternal spanking, with particular attentio...
Article
Using data (n = 3,790 with 2,119 in the 3-year-old cohort and 1,671 in the 4-year-old cohort) from 353 Head Start centers in the Head Start Impact Study, the only large-scale randomized experiment in Head Start history, this article examined the impact of Head Start on children's cognitive and parent-reported social-behavioral outcomes through firs...
Article
This study is the first to test whether receipt of a federal child care subsidy is associated with children of immigrants' school readiness skills. Using nationally representative data (n ≈ 2,900), this study estimates the associations between subsidy receipt at age 4 and kindergarten cognitive and social outcomes, for children of immigrant versus...
Article
Social scientists have long been concerned about how the fortunes of parents affect their children, with acute interest in the most marginalized children. Yet little sociological research considers children in foster care. In this review, we take a three-pronged approach to show why this inattention is problematic. First, we provide overviews of th...
Article
Full-text available
Importance Child maltreatment is a risk factor for poor health throughout the life course. Existing estimates of the proportion of the US population maltreated during childhood are based on retrospective self-reports. Records of officially confirmed maltreatment have been used to produce annual rather than cumulative counts of maltreated individua...
Article
Full-text available
This paper provides new evidence on parent and child reporting of corporal punishment, drawing on data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a birth cohort study of families in 20 medium to large US cities. In separate interviews, 9 year olds and their mothers (N = 1,180 families) were asked about the frequency of corporal punishment...