Sociology Index


Juvenilization of poverty is closely linked to the feminization of poverty. The terms juvenilization of poverty and feminization of poverty have been highly contested. The term 'Juvenilization of poverty' is used to describe child poverty and the increase in both relative and absolute measures of poverty among children. The processes by which children are at a higher risk for being poor, suffer long-term negative effects due to physical, mental, and psychological deprivation. Juvenilization of poverty is the ways in which children are disenfranchised by institutions, government welfare spending, and opportunities for health and wellness. Research connects the juvenilization of poverty to trends in family structures and economic supports for children and families.

FEMINIZATION AND JUVENILIZATION OF POVERTY: Trends, Relative Risks, Causes, and Consequences - Suzanne M. Bianchi Department of Sociology, University of Maryland. Annual Review of Sociology Vol. 25:307-333 (Volume publication date August 1999).
Abstract This paper reviews trends in feminization of poverty and “juvenilization of poverty showing that the relative risks of poverty increased for women in the 1970s but decreased for working-age women in the early 1980s. Relative risks of poverty increased for children between the 1970s and 1990s particularly in comparison with the elderly. Four factors affect these trends: First, the increase in women's employment and decline in the gender wage gap enhanced the likelihood that women remained above the poverty level. Second, the decline in manufacturing employment and “family wage” jobs for men increased the likelihood that less-educated men fell into poverty in the early 1980s. These two factors combined to halt the feminization of poverty among the working-age population. A third trend, the increase in nonmarriage, elevated the proportion of single parents who were young, never-married mothers and complicated the collection of child support from nonresident fathers. This tended to concentrate poverty in mother-child families. Finally, public transfers of income, especially Social Security, were far more effective in alleviating poverty among the elderly than among children, a factor dramatically increasing the juvenilization of poverty after 1970.

The juvenilization of poverty in the 1980s.
College of Social Work, Ohio State University, Columbus.
This article analyzes the factors that caused the economic well-being of children in the United States to deteriorate during the 1980s. The poverty rate for children decreased through the late 1960s and the 1970s but rose during the 1980s. Young families and female-headed families were hit hardest by structural economic changes, contributing to the rise in child poverty. In addition, although more children became poor, social services provision did not increase and in many instances was cut back. The juvenilization of poverty requires social workers to place themselves in advocacy roles and to focus on poverty as a central practice concern.