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The Effects of Persistent Poverty on Children’s Physical, Socio-emotional, and Learning Outcomes

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of persistent poverty on children’s development using the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. The results showed that families in the persistently poor group were more likely to come from socially disadvantaged background that included young and unmarried mothers, less educated parents, Indigenous children, and children who speak other languages at home. Children in the persistently poor group showed significantly lower levels of socio-emotional and learning outcomes than children in the never poor group. The findings suggest that persistently poor families may need support to break the cycle of disadvantage. Actions to relieve poverty in early childhood and to reduce the effect of poverty are required to ensure adequate development of children in poverty in their early childhood.

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Notes

  1. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, equivalised household income is total household income adjusted by the application of an equivalence scale to facilitate comparison of income levels between households of differing size and composition, reflecting the requirement of a larger household to have a higher level of income to achieve the same standard of living as a smaller household. Retrieved on 29th April, 2011 from http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/A390E2529EC00DFECA25720A0076F6C6?opendocument

  2. The current study used a Rao-Scott chi-square test which is “a design-adjusted version of the Pearson chi-square test (SAS Institute Inc. 2009). For further details, see http://support.sas.com/documentation/cdl/en/statug/63033/HTML/default/viewer.htm#statug_surveyfreq_a0000000221.htm

  3. Lower levels of socio-emotional outcome presented by males might be due to the fact that items in socio-emotional domain mainly measure conduct-related aspects in the current study.

  4. The original score of the Body Mass Index was transformed to the z-score and the absolute value of the z-score was obtained by multiplying the scores below 0 by −1. Then, the scores were standardized and reversed to make higher scores represent a better outcome (i.e., average weight).

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Correspondence to Jung-Sook Lee.

Appendix

Appendix

Table 9 Comparison of 50% and 60% median incomes and 10th percentile and 20th percentile incomes
Table 10 Chi-square results of group comparisons by poverty status

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Lee, JS. The Effects of Persistent Poverty on Children’s Physical, Socio-emotional, and Learning Outcomes. Child Ind Res 4, 725–747 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-011-9120-8

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Keywords

  • Poverty
  • Child development
  • Early childhood
  • Longitudinal Study of Australian Children