IRP Conference Volume: Family Complexity, Poverty, and Public Policy

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ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science July 2013

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 654(1), July 2014: Family Complexity, Poverty, and Public Policy

Special Editors: Marcia J. Carlson and Daniel R. Meyer

Of all the ways in which family life in the United States has changed over the past 50 years, an increase in family complexity is one of the most important demographic shifts. High rates of cohabitation, nonmarital childbearing, divorce, and repartnering present challenges for policymakers as well as for families, especially children. Particularly notable is an increase in multi-partner fertility, or the proportion of adults who have biological children by more than one partner.

These changes and trends in family life are important for understanding both the causes and consequences of poverty. As the reach and effects of many antipoverty policies vary with family structure, changes in family life pose challenges to the effective design of antipoverty programs and policies.

The Institute for Research on Poverty launched a major research project in fall 2011 designed to enhance understanding of the nature of this growing U.S. family complexity and its link to poverty and public policy. The project extended over a three-year period and encompassed a range of activities.

Family Complexity, Poverty, and Public Policy Conference

One project activity was a national research and policy conference held at UW–Madison on July 11 and 12, 2013, with funding from the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services* and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in cooperation with the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University.

ANNALS Discount

Conference papers make up the July 2014 issue of The ANNALS, "Family Complexity, Poverty, and Public Policy," edited by Marcia J. Carlson, Professor of Sociology and affiliate of IRP and the Center for Demography and Ecology, and Daniel R. Meyer, Professor of Social Work and IRP affiliate. In the volume, leading scholars explore multiple aspects of contemporary family complexity in the United States, focusing on families with minor children.

The ANNALS volume comprises articles grouped into broad areas. The first several articles provide important conceptual and descriptive background for exploring family complexity. The second set of articles explores key aspects or domains of family complexity. The third set of articles provides information about key elements of family processes amid complexity. Finally, the issue includes several articles and commentaries that point to the broader implications of family complexity for public policy and society. The volume concludes with Meyer and Carlson's reflections on future directions for policy and research.

ANNALs Articles

Conference Volume Table of Contents

Marcia J. Carlson and Daniel R. Meyer
Introduction, Family Complexity: Setting the Context [July 1–August 1, 2014]

Frank F. Furstenberg
Fifty Years of Family Change: From Consensus to Complexity [July 7–August 7, 2014]

Maria Cancian and Ron Haskins
Changes in Family Composition: Implications for Income, Poverty, and Public Policy [July 14–August 14, 2014]

Wendy D. Manning, Susan L. Brown, and J. Bart Stykes
Family Complexity among Children in the United States [July 21–August 21, 2014]

Karen Benjamin Guzzo
New Partners, More Kids: Multiple-Partner Fertility in the United States [July 28–August 28, 2014]

Lawrence M. Berger and Sharon H. Bzostek
Young Adults' Roles as Partners and Parents in the Context of Family Complexity [August 4–September 4, 2014]

Rachel E. Dunifon, Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, and Kimberly Kopko
Grandparent Coresidence and Family Well-Being: Implications for Research and Policy [August 11–September 11, 2014]

Bryan L. Sykes and Becky Pettit
Mass Incarceration, Family Complexity, and the Reproduction of Childhood Disadvantage [August 18–September 18, 2014]

Ariel Kalil, Rebecca Ryan, and Elise Chor
Time Investments in Children across Family Structures [August 25–September 25, 2014]

Laura Tach, Kathryn Edin, Hope Harvey, and Brielle Bryan
The Family-Go-Round: Family Complexity and Father Involvement from a Father's Perspective [September 2–October 2, 2014]

Linda M. Burton
Seeking Romance in the Crosshairs of Multiple-Partner Fertility: Ethnographic Insights on Low-Income Urban and Rural Mothers [September 8–October 8, 2014]

Leonard M. Lopoo and Kerri M. Raissian
U.S. Social Policy and Family Complexity [September 15–October 15, 2014]

Andrew J. Cherlin and Judith A. Seltzer
Family Complexity, the Family Safety Net, and Public Policy [September 22–October 22, 2014]

Isabel Sawhill
Family Complexity: Is It a Problem, and If So, What Should We Do? [September 29–October 29, 2014]

Elizabeth Thomson
Family Complexity in Europe [October 6–November 6, 2014]

Daniel R. Meyer and Marcia J. Carlson
Family Complexity: Implications for Policy and Research [October 13–November 13, 2014]

*Acknowledgment and Disclaimer: Funding for the IRP Family Complexity, Poverty, and Public Policy research initiative was made possible in part by grant number AE00102 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), which was awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The views expressed in publications resulting from supported research do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services.