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Young Disadvantaged Men: Fathers, Families, Poverty, and Policy An Introduction to the Issues

  • Timothy M. Smeeding, Irwin Garfinkel, and Ronald B. Mincy
  • August 2010
  • DP1383-10

This article will appear in Smeeding, Timothy, Irwin Garfinkel, and Ronald Mincy, eds. “Young Disadvantaged Men: Fathers, Families, Poverty, and Policy,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 635 (May 2011).

This paper introduces the major themes associated with young disadvantaged men, including low educational achievement, joblessness, out-of-wedlock childbearing, and incarceration. By age 30, between 68 percent and 75 percent of young men with a high school degree or less are fathers (NLSY). Half of them are married when their first child is born and far fewer continue their education post-high school. The paper briefly reviews four major forces that help shape social and economic outcomes for young men who are fathers and for their partners and children: employment and earnings prospects; multiple-partner fertility; incarceration; and finally public policy, especially as it is reflected in the income support system and the child support system. The paper provides brief synopses of volume chapters to appear in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 2011. It ends with an exploration of policy solutions to the many challenges facing young disadvantaged men.


Education & Training, Education & Training General, Employment, Family & Partnering, Incarceration, Inequality & Mobility, Justice System, Juvenile Justice, Low-Wage Work, Multiple-Partner Fertility, Policing, Prisoner Reentry, Racial/Ethnic Inequality, Unemployment/Nonemployment


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