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Publications by Gregory Acs on Children

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The Promise of Early Interventions for Improving Socioeconomic Outcomes of Black Men (Policy Briefs)
Gregory Acs, Steven Martin

This brief uses the Social Genome Model to assess the potential impact of various childhood and adolescent interventions on long-term outcomes for black men. In particular, we see that increasing parental emotional support and cognitive stimulation during early childhood and raising reading ability levels in mid-childhood have the greatest impact on later life educational attainment and income. The overall effects of successful interventions are modest for the entire population of black men but are somewhat larger for individuals that would be directly affected by the interventions. Our findings suggest that making substantial progress in improving the outcomes of black men will likely require many different interventions that reinforce one another throughout the life course.

Posted to Web: February 05, 2015Publication Date: February 05, 2015

The Moynihan Report Revisited (Research Report)
Gregory Acs, Kenneth Braswell, Elaine Sorensen, Margery Austin Turner

In 1965's The Negro Family: The Case for National Actions, Daniel Patrick Moynihan described a "tangle of pathologies" --from disintegrating families to poor educational outcomes, weak job prospects, concentrated neighborhood poverty, dysfunctional communities, and crime--that would create a self-perpetuating cycle of deprivation, hardship, and inequality for black families. Today, although social progress has created opportunities for many members of the black community, the United States still struggles with many of the problems Moynihan identified. If we don’t enhance economic opportunities and social equity for black families, we may spend the next 50 years lamenting our continued lack of progress.

Posted to Web: June 13, 2013Publication Date: June 13, 2013

TANF at 16: What Do We Know? (Fact Sheet / Data at a Glance)
Sheila R. Zedlewski, Thomas Callan, Gregory Acs

This week marks the 16th anniversary of the landmark welfare reform legislation that created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and terminated the Aid to Dependent Families with Children (AFDC) program, which had provided an entitlement to cash assistance for over 60 years. This fact sheet summarizes what we have learned about the TANF program over the past 16 years.

Posted to Web: August 22, 2012Publication Date: August 22, 2012

Downward Mobility from the Middle Class: Waking Up from the American Dream (Research Report)
Gregory Acs

A middle-class upbringing does not guarantee the same status over the course of a lifetime. A third of Americans raised in the middle class (between the 30th and 70th percentiles of the income distribution) fall out of the middle as adults. Marital status, education, test scores and drug use have a strong influence on whether a middle-class child loses economic ground as an adult. Race is a factor only for men. There is a gender gap in downward mobility from the middle, but it is driven entirely by a disparity between white men and white women.

Posted to Web: April 19, 2012Publication Date: September 01, 2011

Work and Income Security from 1970 to 2005 (Discussion Papers/Low Income Working Families)
Gregory Acs, Seth Zimmerman

This paper uses data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to assess how the economic security and mobility of nonelderly adults in families with children has evolved from 1970 through 2005. We find that that for individuals in low-income families with a full-time, full-year worker, both economic security and upward mobility increased over time. Our findings underscore the importance of work for the long-term security and mobility of low-income families. The high and rising unemployment rates of 2009 clearly imperil the progress made during the last three decades of the 20th century.

Posted to Web: January 08, 2010Publication Date: December 01, 2009

The Urban Institute's Program on Neighborhoods and Youth Development: Understanding How Place Matters for Kids (Research Report)
Susan J. Popkin, Gregory Acs, Robin E. Smith

A central goal of U.S. social welfare policy is to ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential as productive adults. Yet it is increasingly clear that where children live plays a central role in determining their life chances. This paper provides an overview of The Urban Institute's Program on Neighborhoods and Youth Development, which is dedicated to understanding the relationships between neighborhood-level factors and the well-being and development of children and youth and identifying and evaluating place-based, community-wide strategies to help children grow up to reach their full potential as adults.

Posted to Web: November 04, 2009Publication Date: October 01, 2009

Q&A: New Income and Poverty Statistics and the Social Safety Net (Opinion)
Gregory Acs, Linda J. Blumberg, Harry Holzer, Pamela J. Loprest, Jennifer Ehrle Macomber, Karin Martinson, Signe-Mary McKernan, Cynthia Perry, Caroline Ratcliffe, Margaret Simms, Margery Austin Turner, Shelley Waters Boots

The Census Bureau released its annual report on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage for the U.S. population on August 26, 2008. According to the report, median household income increased by 1.3 percent in 2007, while the overall poverty rate dipped slightly and the number and percentage of people without health insurance decreased. While the overall numbers were positive, not everyone shared in the economic gains. The number and percentage of children in poverty increased, and households in the lowest 40 percent of the income distribution had no significant income gains.

Posted to Web: August 27, 2008Publication Date: August 27, 2008

Making Work Pay Enough - Summary (Series/New Safety Net)
Gregory Acs, Margery Austin Turner

One-third of America's families with children are low income, meaning their incomes fall below twice the federal poverty level. Although four in five of these families work, many don't bring home enough to cover the everyday costs of living. In this essay, Acs and Turner outline their proposals to enhance low-income families' purchasing power and reduce unusually high housing costs through a package of reforms and policy initiatives that tackle both the income side and expenditure side of family budgets.

Posted to Web: July 16, 2008Publication Date: July 16, 2008

An Economic Framework and Selected Proposals for Demonstrations Aimed At Strengthening Marriage, Employment, and Family Functioning Outcomes (Research Report)
Robert I. Lerman, Gregory Acs, Anupa Bir

The increasing recognition of the importance of marriage for the social and economic well-being of children has led to demonstrations aimed at strengthening and stimulating healthy marriages. The next step is to ensure that factors closely linked with healthy marriages are addressed as well. This paper brings together research findings and policy ideas about the interactions between marriage, employment, and family functioning. It presents a framework and proposes several demonstrations aimed at improving employment and family outcomes for disadvantaged populations. The appendix reviews an extensive body of research on specific linkages between marriage, employment, and family functioning.

Posted to Web: April 28, 2008Publication Date: December 01, 2007

Is the Ring the Thing? (Document)
Gregory Acs

This paper assesses the extent to which children living in cohabiting families would benefit if their mothers were to marry. Children whose cohabiting mothers marry have higher math and reading scores than children whose mothers either continue to cohabit or who dissolve their cohabiting relationships; marriage is uncorrelated with behavioral outcomes of these children. Interestingly, much of the difference between the test scores of children whose cohabiting mothers marry and those who do not actually predates the marriage. This suggests that the benefits of marriage for children living with cohabiting couples are smaller than they initially appear.

Posted to Web: August 20, 2007Publication Date: October 27, 2005

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