Parenthood and Poverty in the Inner City

Monday, April 07, 2014

For this week’s installment of our series Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America, Kathryn Edin and Timothy J. Nelson examine the problems of extreme poverty in cities like Camden, NJ (the poorest city in the country), Baltimore, and Philadelphia. The also investigate a number of the questions many have about the urban poor, such as: How do single mothers survive on welfare? Why were so many low-income women having children without marrying, when doing so seems so difficult? Where are the fathers and why do they disengage from their children’s lives? Why don’t more people work? Their book Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City is based on a multi-year ethnographic study of black and white low-income, unmarried fathers in inner-city Philadelphia and Camden and shows how major economic and cultural shifts have transformed the meaning of fatherhood among the urban poor.


Kathryn Edin and Timothy J. Nelson

Comments [6]

HipHopSays from Fort Greene (Brooklyn)

let's not address the gender pay inequity or the persistent fact regardless of education/skill level african americans are twice as likely to be unemployed as their non-black counterpart (that's right even if you have an advance degree and the average unemployment rate is 3% for the same african american cohort the unemployment rate would be 6%)....instead let's say double down that if you are a woman you 'need' a man for your economic livelihood, and let's push poor folks into relationships the upper income/chattering class wouldn't even consider for their children.

Jul. 09 2014 09:59 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Doesn't sound so bad ... except when compared to an intact natural family.

Apr. 07 2014 01:46 PM
Andrea from Philadelphia

"These people," Leonard? And not once, but twice (so far).

@Leslie from New York--for one thing, moving costs money and few would risk it unless they had a job first; second, particularly for single parents, it would probably involve leaving behind important social supports--extended family and friends who help them with childcare and other things.

Apr. 07 2014 01:33 PM
Peter from Manhattan

Will someone please address some of the sociological, political, i.e., structural problems of poverty that help to reproduce IT, and its results...teen pregnancy being just one of the problems of inner city poverty. Access to quality ed, healthcare, jobs, job training, etc.

Apr. 07 2014 01:31 PM
tom LI

So has anyone identified the reasons, causes, etc, Why with all the exposure to the negatives of living in poverty and trying to raise a family (is raise the right word?) the cycle is just not broken in larger numbers?

It would seem at same point the negatives, generation after generation repeating the same mistakes - would weigh so heavily on these folks that more people would just give up on the repetition...?

I'm as naive as there is on this...

Apr. 07 2014 01:24 PM
Leslie from New York

Could your guests address the role or patterns of migration in the inner city? More specifically, address the decision of urban poor to remain in a given city in place of moving to a new city where the potential of work and cost of living could potentially improve their quality of life, etc?

Apr. 07 2014 01:24 PM

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