Family economic success - Child & Family Policy Center

Family economic success

Economic circumstances dictate how well families are able to provide for their basic needs. The most commonly used benchmark is whether a family falls below 100 percent or 200 percent of the federal poverty level (approximately $23,000 or $46,000, respectively, for a family of four). About 21 percent and 44 percent of U.S. children, and 16 percent and 38 percent of Iowa children, fall in these categories. Helping families thrive economically is critical, backed by research suggesting children in poverty, even temporary poverty, are at much greater risk of experiencing poor health, social and educational outcomes. This is especially true for children who also have parents with low education levels, or are in a household headed by a single parent.

CFPC promotes family economic success in five areas:

  • Make work pay
  • Provide needed work supports
  • Develop worker skills and opportunities for entrepreneurship
  • Increase savings and reduce debt
  • Welcome New Workers/Ensure equity in opportunity for success


CFPC project highlights

CFPC's report, "Women, Work and Poverty," notes a strong gender basis to poverty in the U.S. over time. During the 1970s and 80s, advocates of women’s rights identified factors contributing to the "feminization of poverty," including pay inequities within job classification; occupational segregation, with “women’s jobs” among the lowest paid; absence of family leave and affordable child care; and the increase in single parenting.

Over the last quarter-century, lawmakers have addressed many of these factors. Despite gains, disparities have not disappeared. Their persistence clearly demonstrates the need for continued public efforts to help women – particularly low-income single mothers – obtain the fairly paid work they need to support their children.

For more of CFPC's work on family economic success, visit our publications archives.



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