- Judith Bartfeld, Craig Gundersen, Timothy Smeeding, and James Ziliak
- January 2016
- Link to PB10-Urban-Men (PDF)
A recent symposium on poor urban men began with a question: Why focus on men? Three reasons were cited. First, most men have children—nearly two-thirds of young low-educated men are fathers—and fathers represent an important potential source of family income and financial support for children. Second, since 2000, poor urban men have retreated en masse from employment as median wages for low-skilled workers have dropped and their incarceration rate has shot up. Third, much research on the 1990s’ welfare reforms focused on poor single women with children, whereas relatively little attention has been paid to disadvantaged men. Despite their importance to families and society, the plight of urban men with a high school education or less has not been widely documented or discussed. The symposium was designed to provide an evidence-based overview of the lives of disadvantaged urban men. Particular focus was on key issues affecting poor urban men—incarceration, child support, and labor markets—and on policy options that have produced measurable and replicable results.