Infants born to mothers who could receive the largest EITC increases in the s had the greatest improvements in such birth indicators as low-weight births and premature births. Moreover, research suggests that income from the EITC and CTC leads to improved educational outcomes for young children in low-income households. Children whose families receive more income from refundable tax credits do better in school, are likelier to attend college, and likely earn more as adults; they also are likelier to avoid the early onset of disabilities and other illnesses associated with child poverty, which further enhances their earnings ability as adults, some research suggests.
These working-family tax credits lifted 9. The magnitude of these effects is large: Millions of families are brought above the poverty line, and estimates of the effects on children indicate that this may have extremely important effects on the intergenerational transmission of poverty as well. Taking all of the evidence together, the EITC appears to benefit recipients — and especially their children — substantially. To claim the credit, a taxpayer must have earnings from a job.
The credit rises with earned income until reaching a maximum which varies by the number of qualified children and then phases out as income rises further. Research strongly suggests that low-income families do not understand how much of their tax refund comes from the EITC or the CTC, but they do understand that if they work they can qualify for significant tax-based benefits. The EITC is particularly effective at encouraging work among single mothers working for low wages.
Single mothers are the group most likely to be eligible for the EITC because they tend to have low earnings and qualifying children. As Figure 1 shows, single mothers experienced a marked increase in paid employment following the EITC expansions of the early s, relative to married women and single women without children.
In addition, women who were eligible to benefit the most from those EITC expansions apparently had higher wage growth in later years than other similarly situated women.Make Ends Meet - Take 1 - Idioms - ESL British English Pronunciation
The EITC expansions of the s induced more than a half a million families to move from cash welfare assistance to work, research shows. Higher Social Security benefits, in turn, reduce the extent and severity of poverty among seniors. Changes in health insurance coverage did not seem to be a primary explanation for these improved health outcomes. They also are more likely to finish high school and go on to college.
In addition, larger tax refunds make college more affordable for low-income families with high-school seniors and are associated with significant increases in their college attendance.
A recent working paper examining data from before and after changes to federal and state EITCs finds that children receiving larger EITCs tend to do better academically in both the short and long term.
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Higher test scores, particularly in math. Larger EITCs are linked to improved test scores in the year of receipt for both elementary and middle-school students. Higher high-school graduation rates.
Higher college attendance rates. The size of these effects is noteworthy. The paper estimates that a child in a family eligible for the largest EITC expansion in the early s would have a 4. Moreover, the findings show that the academic benefits of larger EITCs extend to children of all ages and racial and ethnic groups, with some suggestive evidence that the benefits are slightly larger for minority children and boys.
Researchers who analyzed data for grades from a large urban school district and the corresponding U. Researchers analyzing ten anti-poverty and welfare-to-work experiments found a consistent pattern of better school results for low-income children in programs that provided more income. The researchers noted that their results have important implications for policies that link increases in income to increases in employment, like the EITC and CTC.
These trends are likely to continue because young women are acting as though they intend to work in the paid labor market and continue to make significant investments in their work skills, so much so that women now outnumber men on college campuses. However, non-mothers—women without children, as well as men—have also seen their employment rates decline. Research shows that children are not pulling women back into the home.
Boushey forthcoming finds that there is no evidence of an increase in the effect of children on the employment rates of professional women, nor is it the case that children are causing more women to choose part-time employment.
Why are mothers at work instead of at home? Some argue that the introduction of the birth control pill and, more importantly, its increased availability for single women, led women to greater investments in their own careers Goldin and Katz Others point to changes in legislation that put cracks in the glass ceiling and made it possible for women to enter—and excel—in a wider array of occupations.
At the same time, labor demand has increased in typically female occupations, such as clerical and service workers, which may have pulled women into employment Jacobsen For millions of mothers, getting a job provides necessary income and economic security for their families. For many families, having a working wife can make the difference between being middle class and not. When we look across the income distribution, families in the higher income brackets are more likely to have a working wife and she puts in more hours than less-well off families.
In recent decades, the families that were upwardly mobile were those who had a working wife: Even though families are working more, their incomes have failed to grow as much as they did in the decades after World War II. Figure 2 shows the growth in median family income for married-couple families from throughindexed to The trends are similar from to the present for married-couple families with and without children, but the Census provides data back to for married-couple families without children, so we use this here for comparison.
The dotted line shows growth in income among families where the wife does not work and the solid line shows growth in income among families where the wife does work. The trend line shows what the growth in married-couple family income would have been had it remained at its to rate of growth.
Prior to aboutmarried-couple family income grew by three percent per year on average and income growth was about the same for families with and without a working wife. However, after the early s, family income growth comes to a virtual halt for families without a working wife, and slowed considerably for families with a working wife.
Aftermarried-couple families without a working wife saw their income grow at an annual average rate of just 0. Thus, even though families are working harder, they are seeing income growth that pales in comparison to the decades prior to Figure 3 shows that if wives had not increased their employment rates, families across the income distribution would have seen much slower income growth and families at the bottom would have seen their incomes fall Mishel, Bernstein, and Allegretto A decade ago, welfare reform challenged low-income single mothers to find jobs.
Over the next few years, the employment rate of single mothers rose sharply, from 71 percent in to 82 percent in Research has concluded that welfare reform accounts for about one-third of the employment gains of former welfare recipients and the strong economy of the late s accounts for another third Blank Now, not only are single mothers as likely to work as married mothers, but they typically work more hours.
Even so, the typical, unmarried mother teeters on the edge of poverty, pulling in barely enough to make ends meet. On top of this, service sector workers mostly low-wage women are not as likely as other workers to have paid health insurance or paid leave.
Each year, employers are asking employees to pay or pay more to have other family members on their health insurance plan, making it more expensive for wives to stay at home and not find a job that offers them their own health insurance Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured A generation ago, the typical family had a husband working full-time and a wife working less than part-time.
Among married-couple families with an adult aged 25 to 54 with children, the combined annual hours of work increased by 18 percent between and This is the equivalent of every family putting in an additional There are also more single-parent families than there were a generation ago, with one-in-six families headed by a single parent incompared to one-in-sixteen in It would seem that more hours of work should translate directly into a loss of hours available for parenting.
Note that parenting is not the same as care. Between andmothers spent an average of four more hours at a paid job and five more hours parenting. Mothers are spending less time on housework an average of one less hour per weekless time volunteering and less time on themselves.
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Fathers also are spending more time with their children: Mothers initially may have been able to continue to provide as much care as they moved into employment, because men began to pick up some of the household chores. During the s, the gender gap in housework closed as men increased their hours of housework. Families come up with a diversity of strategies to find sources of care so that they can work, not all of which include paying for child care. Slightly less than one-third of mothers put their young children under age six in formal care.
While formal care is generally of higher quality and is one of the most reliable forms of care, it is also the most expensive.
Moderate and lower income families generally cannot afford it without assistance. These child care arrangements are of varying quality and are the least reliable, often forcing mothers to miss work Fuller et al.
Mothers in lower-income households spend a much higher share of their total income on child care than do higher-income households. Inmothers in the bottom 40th percentile or below, who paid for formal daycare, spent nearly one-fifth of their family total income on child care, compared to only 6 percent among mothers in the highest quintile Boushey and Wright There are some government child care subsidies available to low-income parents but research has found that many children eligible for child care subsidies do not receive them, with only about 15 percent of children eligible for federal child care assistance actually receiving any funds Administration for Children and Families The United States spend less than one half of one percent of its budget on child care programs.
One-third of mothers rely on relatives to provide care for their children. The high use of relatives to provide child care among poorer households and the low use among higher income households indicates that this kind of care may be more of necessity than choice.
This may be in part a result of welfare reform, which pushed low-income mothers into paid employment. High reliance on relative child care may also be partially attributable to the fact that child care costs have risen faster than wages in recent years.
However, relative care may not be a stable child care arrangement over time. Relatives often have to find regular employment themselves. It cannot be assumed that relative care will meet the child care needs of middle- and lower-income households. Working mothers report parental care to be the most common kind of care for their pre-school children, especially among lower-income households.
Married mothers who report parental care as the most common kind of child care are much more likely to tag-team parent with their spouse, working alternating schedules so that one parent watches the children while the other one works.
While the decision to tag-team parent could be one of choice or necessity, the evidence suggests that it is driven primarily by necessity. The probability that couples work overlapping hours—that is, they are at work at the same time and home at the same time—increases sharply with income, supporting the view that couples with more income can effectively buy more time together by making other child care arrangements for the hours when both are working.
When high-income families tag-team parent, they do so by having one parent work fewer hours than the other, rather than having both parents working similar hours on alternating schedules, which is more common among lower-income couples. A similar pattern holds for education levels, with more educated couples typically having work schedules that more closely coincide, compared to couples with less education.
Lower income families simply cannot afford to buy formal child care and may not have other options available e. Parents who work alternating schedules tend to use parental care as the primary type of child care. Nannies are the least common kind of child care, used by less than one-in-ten working mothers and are an option typically used only by the wealthiest families Boushey and Wright Elder care is often just as, if not more expensive, than child care.
An indication of the growing importance of elder care is that over the next ten years, home health aides are projected to be the fastest growing occupation in the United States, increasing by over 50 percent Hecker Finding adequate care for children and other family members is often made more daunting by the inflexibility of the workplace.
For professional mothers, the issue is often that there are not part-time or flexible jobs available in their organization, or their field. The Walrus publishes content nearly every day on thewalrus. Based in Toronto, The Walrus currently has a full-time editorial staff of fifteen, and we work with writers and artists across Canada and the world. Our masthead can be found here.
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Race, class, generation, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and geography all affect point of view. The Walrus believes that reflecting societal differences in reporting leads to better, more nuanced stories and a better-informed community. The Walrus is committed to employment equity and diversity. Hawks flew beneath his feet, and he could see the Canadian Rockies in the distance: It wasand as a full-time window washer, Shawn, forty-five, would hang off buildings for up to twelve hours a day.
He loved the high, but he knew it was also dangerous work, being so far up in the sky with only a harness. He had been working on and off for the past few decades, switching between construction, landscaping, and restaurant work. For five of those years, he had been alone and homeless, bouncing between Calgary and Edmonton. Now, inhe lived in Edmonton with his wife, Sabrina, thirty-five, and her two young children, Andrea and Vanda.
But, by the end of the fall, when it became too icy for outdoor work, the paycheques began to dwindle—they were not enough to support the family over the winter. Before meeting Shawn, Sabrina had been a single mother for years, working various jobs in the service and sales industries in Edmonton. But inthe liquor store where she worked full-time announced it was closing and offered her a transfer—with a drastic cut in her hours.
That October, the family decided to move to a city where the weather was milder and the window-washing season longer. They left Edmonton with their belongings packed in a s RV.
The group travelled nine hours the first day, then slept in the RV in the middle of the Rocky Mountains.