University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Fighting child poverty in the United States and United Kingdom: An update

Last year Timothy Smeeding and Jane Waldfogel published an article in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management that showed how child poverty trends in the United States and United Kingdom had diverged over the past decade, during which the United Kingdom pursued an ambitious war on child poverty. Now there are new data for the two countries, which reveal that the differences are even starker than before. This Fast Focus brief is designed to update their findings in the context of the ongoing recession as well as the change in government in the United Kingdom and subsequent ongoing changes in public policy toward poor children. Ten years into the U.K. initiative to halve child poverty in 10 years, if poverty is measured in absolute terms as we do in the U.S., they have more than achieved their interim goal, because of both fiscal effort and persistence, as Jane Waldfogel documents in her book Britain’s War on Poverty (published by Russell Sage Foundation in 2010). The authors assert that a more concerted national effort will be needed if the United States is to achieve anything like the successes of the United Kingdom in reducing its high child poverty rates.


Child Poverty, Children