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  • Individual Author: Office of Policy Planning and Research, United States Department of Labor
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1965

    The most difficult fact for white Americans to understand is that in these terms the circumstances of the Negro American community in recent years has probably been getting worse, not better.

    Indices of dollars of income, standards of living, and years of education deceive. The gap between the Negro and most other groups in American society is widening.

    The fundamental problem, in which this is most clearly the case, is that of family structure. The evidence — not final, but powerfully persuasive — is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling. A middle class group has managed to save itself, but for vast numbers of the unskilled, poorly educated city working class the fabric of conventional social relationships has all but disintegrated. There are indications that the situation may have been arrested in the past few years, but the general post war trend is unmistakable. So long as this situation persists, the cycle of poverty and disadvantage will continue to repeat itself.

    The thesis of this paper is that these events, in combination,...

    The most difficult fact for white Americans to understand is that in these terms the circumstances of the Negro American community in recent years has probably been getting worse, not better.

    Indices of dollars of income, standards of living, and years of education deceive. The gap between the Negro and most other groups in American society is widening.

    The fundamental problem, in which this is most clearly the case, is that of family structure. The evidence — not final, but powerfully persuasive — is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling. A middle class group has managed to save itself, but for vast numbers of the unskilled, poorly educated city working class the fabric of conventional social relationships has all but disintegrated. There are indications that the situation may have been arrested in the past few years, but the general post war trend is unmistakable. So long as this situation persists, the cycle of poverty and disadvantage will continue to repeat itself.

    The thesis of this paper is that these events, in combination, confront the nation with a new kind of problem. Measures that have worked in the past, or would work for most groups in the present, will not work here. A national effort is required that will give a unity of purpose to the many activities of the Federal government in this area, directed to a new kind of national goal: the establishment of a stable Negro family structure. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Wilson, William Julius
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1997

    Wilson, one of our foremost authorities on race and poverty, challenges decades of liberal and conservative pieties to look squarely at the devastating effects that joblessness has had on our urban ghettos. Marshaling a vast array of data and the personal stories of hundreds of men and women, Wilson persuasively argues that problems endemic to America's inner cities--from fatherless households to drugs and violent crime--stem directly from the disappearance of blue-collar jobs in the wake of a globalized economy. Wilson's achievement is to portray this crisis as one that affects all Americans, and to propose solutions whose benefits would be felt across our society. At a time when welfare is ending and our country's racial dialectic is more strained than ever, When Work Disappears is a sane, courageous, and desperately important work. (publisher abstract)

    Wilson, one of our foremost authorities on race and poverty, challenges decades of liberal and conservative pieties to look squarely at the devastating effects that joblessness has had on our urban ghettos. Marshaling a vast array of data and the personal stories of hundreds of men and women, Wilson persuasively argues that problems endemic to America's inner cities--from fatherless households to drugs and violent crime--stem directly from the disappearance of blue-collar jobs in the wake of a globalized economy. Wilson's achievement is to portray this crisis as one that affects all Americans, and to propose solutions whose benefits would be felt across our society. At a time when welfare is ending and our country's racial dialectic is more strained than ever, When Work Disappears is a sane, courageous, and desperately important work. (publisher abstract)

  • Individual Author: Duncan, Greg; Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne; Aber, J. Lawrence
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1997

    Perhaps the most alarming phenomenon in American cities has been the transformation of many neighborhoods into isolated ghettos where poverty is the norm and violent crime, drug use, out-of-wedlock births, and soaring school dropout rates are rampant. Public concern over these destitute areas has focused on their most vulnerable inhabitants—children and adolescents. How profoundly does neighborhood poverty endanger their well-being and development? Is the influence of neighborhood more powerful than that of the family? Neighborhood Poverty: Context and Consequences for Children approaches these questions with an insightful and wide-ranging investigation into the effect of community poverty on children's physical health, cognitive and verbal abilities, educational attainment, and social adjustment.

    This two-volume set offers the most current research and analysis from experts in the fields of child development, social psychology, sociology and economics. Drawing from national and city-based sources, Volume I reports the empirical evidence concerning the relationship between...

    Perhaps the most alarming phenomenon in American cities has been the transformation of many neighborhoods into isolated ghettos where poverty is the norm and violent crime, drug use, out-of-wedlock births, and soaring school dropout rates are rampant. Public concern over these destitute areas has focused on their most vulnerable inhabitants—children and adolescents. How profoundly does neighborhood poverty endanger their well-being and development? Is the influence of neighborhood more powerful than that of the family? Neighborhood Poverty: Context and Consequences for Children approaches these questions with an insightful and wide-ranging investigation into the effect of community poverty on children's physical health, cognitive and verbal abilities, educational attainment, and social adjustment.

    This two-volume set offers the most current research and analysis from experts in the fields of child development, social psychology, sociology and economics. Drawing from national and city-based sources, Volume I reports the empirical evidence concerning the relationship between children and community. As the essays demonstrate, poverty entails a host of problems that affects the quality of educational, recreational, and child care services. Poor neighborhoods usually share other negative features—particularly racial segregation and a preponderance of single mother families—that may adversely affect children. Yet children are not equally susceptible to the pitfalls of deprived communities. Neighborhood has different effects depending on a child's age, race, and gender, while parenting techniques and a family's degree of community involvement also serve as mitigating factors.

    Volume II incorporates empirical data on neighborhood poverty into discussions of policy and program development. The contributors point to promising community initiatives and suggest methods to strengthen neighborhood-based service programs for children. Several essays analyze the conceptual and methodological issues surrounding the measurement of neighborhood characteristics. These essays focus on the need to expand scientific insight into urban poverty by drawing on broader pools of ethnographic, epidemiological, and quantitative data. Volume II explores the possibilities for a richer and more well-rounded understanding of neighborhood and poverty issues.

    To grasp the human cost of poverty, we must clearly understand how living in distressed neighborhoods impairs children's ability to function at every level. Neighborhood Poverty explores the multiple and complex paths between community, family, and childhood development. These two volumes provide and indispensable guide for social policy and demonstrate the power of interdisciplinary social science to probe complex social issues. (author abstract)

    Table of Contents

    Introduction - Martha Gephart and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn

    Chapter 1: Neighborhoods and Communities as Contexts for Development - Martha Gephart

    Chapter 2: Development in Context: Implications for Studying Neighborhood Effects - J. Lawrence Aber, Martha Gephart, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, and James Connell

    Chapter 3: Neighborhood Models and Measures - Greg Duncan and J. Lawrence Aber

    Chapter 4: Neighborhood and Family Influences on the Intellectual and Behavioral Competence of Preschool and Early School-Age Children - P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Rachel Gordon, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, and Pamela Klebanov

    Chapter 5: Are Neighborhood Effects on Young Children Mediated by Features of the Home Environment? - Pamela Klebanov, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, and Rachel Gordon

    Chapter 6: Neighborhood and Family Factors Predicting Educational Risk and Attainment in African American and White Children and Adolescents - Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, James Connell, Margaret Beale Spencer, J. Lawrence Aber, Greg Duncan, Elizabeth Clifford, Warren Crichlow, Peter Usinger, Steven Cole, LaRue Allen, and Edward Seidman

    Chapter 7: How Neighborhoods Affect Educational Outcomes in Middle Childhood and Adolescence: Conceptual Issues and an Empirical Example - James Connell and Bonnie Halpern-Felsher

    Chapter 8: Neighborhood and Family Influences on Young Urban Adolescents' Behavior Problems: A Multisample, Multisite Analysis - Margaret Beale Spencer, Steven Cole, Stephanie Jones, and Dena Phillips Swanson

    Chapter 9: Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Estimating Casual Effects of Neighborhoods and Family Conditions on Individual Development - Greg Duncan, James Connell, and Pamela Klebanov 

    Chapter 10: Neighborhood Effects and Federal Policy - Jeffrey Lehman and Timothy Smeeding 

    Chapter 11: Lessons Learned and Future Directions for Research on the Neighborhoods in Which Children Live - Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Greg Duncan, Tama Leventhal, and J. Lawrence Aber

  • Individual Author: Halpern, Robert
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1998

    How has America's social welfare network benefited families living in poverty? In what ways has it failed to provide for their needs? The system of social welfare in the United States has been in place for most of this century-and although it has had lasting impact on the lives of many people in need, it is far from perfect in its handling of the nation's poor. Fragile Families, Fragile Solutions presents a historical perspective on one of the central components of the U.S. social welfare network-family services-and provides a unique look at the advances this service network has achieved, problems it has confronted, and where it is likely to go in the future.

    Beginning with an exploration of the nineteenth-century roots of family services and the emergence of family casework at the beginning of this century, Halpern ranges through the 1920s and 1930- charting the influence of psychoanalytic theory in social service work and government responses to the Depression. He surveys the following two decades, when policymakers attempted to respond to changing inner-city populations...

    How has America's social welfare network benefited families living in poverty? In what ways has it failed to provide for their needs? The system of social welfare in the United States has been in place for most of this century-and although it has had lasting impact on the lives of many people in need, it is far from perfect in its handling of the nation's poor. Fragile Families, Fragile Solutions presents a historical perspective on one of the central components of the U.S. social welfare network-family services-and provides a unique look at the advances this service network has achieved, problems it has confronted, and where it is likely to go in the future.

    Beginning with an exploration of the nineteenth-century roots of family services and the emergence of family casework at the beginning of this century, Halpern ranges through the 1920s and 1930- charting the influence of psychoanalytic theory in social service work and government responses to the Depression. He surveys the following two decades, when policymakers attempted to respond to changing inner-city populations. An extended section focuses on the 1960- a critical reform period. Covering a wide spectrum of contemporary issues in policy and organization, as well as escalating crises in such areas as child welfare, Halpern brings readers up to date on this complex subject.

    Offering policy recommendations for the future, Halpern inspires social workers and policymakers alike with a symbolic goal of constructing a more positive vision of the potential of social services, and a pragmatic objective of designing an efficient, effective family services network to care for Americans in greatest need of support. (publisher abstract)

  • Individual Author: Massey, Douglass S.; Denton, Nancy A.
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1998

    American Apartheid shows how the black ghetto was created by whites during the first half of the twentieth century in order to isolate growing urban black populations. It goes on to show that, despite the Fair Housing Act of 1968, segregation is perpetuated today through an interlocking set of individual actions, institutional practices, and governmental policies. In some urban areas the degree of black segregation is so intense and occurs in so many dimensions simultaneously that it amounts to “hypersegregation.”

    Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton demonstrate that this systematic segregation of African Americans leads inexorably to the creation of underclass communities during periods of economic downturn. Under conditions of extreme segregation, any increase in the overall rate of black poverty yields a marked increase in the geographic concentration of indigence and the deterioration of social and economic conditions in black communities. As ghetto residents adapt to this increasingly harsh environment under a climate of racial isolation, they evolve attitudes,...

    American Apartheid shows how the black ghetto was created by whites during the first half of the twentieth century in order to isolate growing urban black populations. It goes on to show that, despite the Fair Housing Act of 1968, segregation is perpetuated today through an interlocking set of individual actions, institutional practices, and governmental policies. In some urban areas the degree of black segregation is so intense and occurs in so many dimensions simultaneously that it amounts to “hypersegregation.”

    Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton demonstrate that this systematic segregation of African Americans leads inexorably to the creation of underclass communities during periods of economic downturn. Under conditions of extreme segregation, any increase in the overall rate of black poverty yields a marked increase in the geographic concentration of indigence and the deterioration of social and economic conditions in black communities. As ghetto residents adapt to this increasingly harsh environment under a climate of racial isolation, they evolve attitudes, behaviors, and practices that further marginalize their neighborhoods and undermine their chances of success in mainstream American society. This book is a sober challenge to those who argue that race is of declining significance in the United States today. (author abstract)

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