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Professors Gibson-Davis and Hill Discuss The Effects of Wealth Inequality on Child Development (September 21st)

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This interview discusses the recently published series of ten articles edited by Professors Gibson-Davis and Heather D. Hill titled, "Wealth Inequality and Child Development: Implications for Policy and Practice," appearing in the August issue of The Russel Sage Foundation's Journal of the Social Sciences

The US suffers both extreme economic inequality.  For example, per June Federal Reserve data, the wealthiest 1% of Americans control approximately $42 trillion in wealth compared to the bottom 50%’s $2.6 trillion.  Children represent the poorest age group, nearly half of all children live in poverty or near poverty.   A disproportionate percent of poor children are minorities, e.g., 30% of Black and 27% of Hispanic children live in poverty.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics children who suffer poverty experience numerous health harms through their life course including infant mortality and chronic illnesses, among others, cardiovascular, immune and psychiatric disorders and related lifelong hardships including unemployment, poor education, housing and healthcare.  

During this 39 minute interview Professors Gibson-Davis and Hill editors begin by defining and discussing extremes or vast disparities in wealth inequality among families with children, e.g., the top 1% of families with children have 43% of all wealth among families among children, the bottom 50% have less than 0.1%, or  the difference between $29.5 million versus $300.  The authors discuss next childhood health effects, specifically the negative correlation between family wealth and children's BMI (the Boen, et al. article) and what explains this correlation, discuss the Conwell and Ye study, "All Wealth is Not Created Equal," i.e., Black families may not or do not enjoy the same economic standing of White families, e.g., Black families are less likely to own a home, and this translates to fewer opportunities for the Black family children.  The authors discuss next policy solutions, i.e., the Huang, et al. article concerning Child Development Accounts (CDAs), the Michelmore and Lopoo EITC article and the Jackson, et al. article regarding the dissimilar effect Medicaid expansion has on White family wealth versus Black family wealth.             

Heather D. Hill is a Professor and Director of the PhD Program in Public Policy and Management at the Evans School at the University of Washington.   Professor Hill is also a faculty HeatherHill_094-1-e1597105338787-300x300 affiliate of the West Coast Poverty Center and the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology at the U of WA and the Institute for Research and Poverty at the U. of Wisconsin and a member of the Executive Council for the U of WA Population Health Initiative.  Previously, Professor Hill worked as a research analyst at Mathematica Policy Research in Washington, DC and spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Ivory Coast.  Professor Hill received a Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University in 2007, her MPP from the University of Michigan and a BA in Political Science from the University of Washington.

Christina M. Gibson-Davis is a Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy with a secondary appointment as a professor of Sociology at Duke University.  She is also a Faculty Image_6808062 Reearch Scholar of DuPRI's Population Research Center and an Affiliate of the Ctner for Child and Family Policy.   Her research interests concern social and economic differences in family formation patterns.  Her current research focuses on the how divergent patterns of family formation affect economic inequality.  She earned her Ph.D. at Northwestern and her BA at Bates College.   

The Russell Sage Foundation's Journal of the Social Sciences August issue, again titled, "Wealth Inequality and Child Development: Implications for Policy and Practice."  is at: https://www.rsfjournal.org/content/7/3.  


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