Vol. 6 (2021): American Journal of Educational Research and Reviews

Child poverty in the United States from the perspective of conflict theory

Zeinab Abulhul1,2
1Department of Center for Social Work Education, School of Health and Human Services, Widener University, Chester, PA, USA,2Department of Social Work, University of Tripoli, Tripoli, Libya


  • poverty; welfare; factors; immigrants; conflict theory education; low-wages; Unemployment.

How to Cite

Zeinab Abulhul1,2. (2021). Child poverty in the United States from the perspective of conflict theory. American Journal of Educational Research and Reviews, 6(1), 82. https://doi.org/10.28933/ajerr-2021-03-2505


This article analyzes social problems linked to child poverty in the United States from the perspective of social conflict theory. Specifically, this article depicts the poverty meas-urements used to evaluate poverty issues in the United States. It also describes the United States’ efforts to reform social welfare policies to decrease child poverty. This article aims to educate social work students about factors directly connected to child poverty, such as unemployment, low wages, family structure, education, and immigrants. In doing so, this article uses social theories such as social conflict theory to understand what aspects of American culture are linked to the persistence of child poverty. Finally, this article dis-cusses the long-term plans and massive efforts required to reduce the causes of poverty.


  1. AAP. (2016). Council on community pediatrics. Poverty and child health in the United States. The American Academy of Pediatrics. 2016; 137(4): e20160339. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2016/03/07/peds.2016-0339.full.pdf
  2. ABA. ( 2012). Child poverty in the United States: The need for a constitutional amendment and a cultural Sea change. ABA, Journal. https://www.americanbar.org/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/human_rights_vol32_2005/winter2005/hr_winter05_childpovertyinus/
  3. Anderson, R. (n.d). Re: Causes of poverty in America. [ blog comment]. http://www.pursuegod.org/causes-of-poverty-in-america/
  4. Barkan, S. (2012). Economic inequality and poverty in the United States. https://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/sociology-brief-edition-v1.1/s09-04-economic-inequality-and-povert.html
  5. Ben-Meir, A. (2017). Child poverty in America is indefensible. HuffPost News. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/child-poverty-in-america-is-indefensible_us_59f21fabe4b06acda25f485c
  6. Brya, M. (2013). The Great Inflation. Federal Reserve History. https://www.federalreservehistory.org/essays/great_inflation
  7. Cauthen, N& Fass, S. (2008) Measuring poverty in the United States. National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP). http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_825.html
  8. CHEMYCLASS. (2018). The Three Assumptions of Conflict Theory. https://smfmnewsroom.org/other-topics/space/the-three-assumptions-of-conflict-theory-5859/
  9. Children defense fund. (2017). Children poverty in America in 2017: National analysis. https://www.childrensdefense.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Child-Poverty-in-America-2017-National-Fact-Sheet.pdf
  10. ChildTrends.org. (2018). Children in poverty: Differences by race/Hispanic origin. https://www.childtrends.org/indicators/children-in-poverty
  11. Corcoran, M & and Hill, M (1980). Unemployment and poverty. The University of Chicago Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/30015846.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A71d9a55fbf85846bc9b9d7c0e972dfd8
  12. Costa, D. (2015). Employers exploit unauthorized immigrants to keep wages low. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/09/03/is-immigration-really-a-problem-in-the-us/employers-exploit-unauthorized-immigrants-to-keep-wages-low
  13. Day, P. & Schiele, J. (2013). A New History of Social Welfare. Pearson Education, Inc
  14. Edelman, P. (2015). The War on the Poor. The American Prospect. http://prospect.org/article/war-poor
  15. Essays, UK. (2013). The three assumptions of conflict theory. https://www.ukessays.com/essays/sociology/the-three-assumptions-of-conflict-theory-sociology-essay.php?vref=1
  16. Fay, B. (2011). Poverty in the United States. Debt.Org. https://www.debt.org/faqs/americans-in-debt/poverty-united-states/
  17. Federal Safety Net ( n.d). Poverty Definition. http://federalsafetynet.com/poverty-definition.html
  18. Frank, E. (2004). Dear Dr. Dollar: Can you explain how poverty is defined in government statistics? Is this a realistic definition? Dollar and sense. Economic Affairs Bureau Inc. http://dollarsandsense.org/archives/2006/0106dollar.html
  19. Giannarelli, L. Lippold, K. Minton, S & Wheaton. L. (2015). Reducing child poverty in the US. URNAN, Institution. https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/39141/2000086-Reducing-Child-Poverty-in-the-US.pdf
  20. Haskins. (2012). Combating poverty: Understanding new challenges for families. The Brookings Institution. https://www.brookings.edu/testimonies/combating-poverty-understanding-new-challenges-for-families/
  21. Hoynes, H. Page, M& Stevens, A. (2005). Poverty in America: Trends and explanations. National Bureau Of Economic Research. https://www.nber.org/papers/w11681.pdf
  22. IRP. (2018). Official Poverty Measure. Institute for research on poverty. University of Wisconsin- Madison. https://www.irp.wisc.edu/resources/how-is-poverty-measured/
  23. Isaacs, J., & Lovell, P. (2010). Families of the recession: Unemployed parents & their children. file:///C:/Users/zeinab_pc/Downloads/Unemployed_Parents_Their_Children.pdf
  24. Jansson, B. (2012). The Reluctant Welfare State: Engaging History to Advance Social Work Practice in Contemporary Society, Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole
  25. Klein, A. (2015). NCLB has been replaced. For information about the latest education law. Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/no-child-left-behind-overview-definition-summary.html
  26. Koball, H & Jiang, Y. (2018). Basic facts about low-income children. National center for children in poverty (NCCP). http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_1194.html
  27. Kramer, L. (2018). How the Great Inflation of the 1970s Happened. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/09/1970s-great-inflation.asp
  28. Lumen Sociology (n.d). Reading: Conflict theory on education. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/alamo-sociology/chapter/reading-conflict-theory-on-education/
  29. McCarty, A. (2017). Child poverty in the United States: A tale of devastation and the promise of hope. PMC. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5589198/
  30. Menjívar,C & Cervantes, A. (2016). The effects of parental undocumented status on families and children. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/newsletter/2016/11/undocumented-status.aspx
  31. Meyer, M & Pachico, E. (2018). Fact Sheet: U.S. Immigration and central American Asylum Seekers. WOLA. https://www.wola.org/analysis/fact-sheet-united-states-immigration-central-american-asylum-seekers/
  32. Nadasen, P. (2017). Extreme poverty returns to America. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/12/21/extreme-poverty-returns-to-am
  33. NASIBOV. (2012). Re: why to define Social Problems? How and why to define Social Problems? [ blog comment]. https://sophistics.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/what-is-social-problem-how-and-why-to-define-social-problems/
  34. Nowrasteh, A & Orr, R. (2018). Immigration and the welfare state. Cato Institute. https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/irpb6.pdf
  35. Paperap (2018). Sociological theories of unemployment: Social perspective Essay paper. University of California. https://paperap.com/paper-on-essay-sociological-perspectives-unemployment/
  36. Porter, E. (2017). The danger from low-skilled immigrants: not having them. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/business/economy/immigrants-skills-economy-jobs.html
  37. Rector, R. (2006). Importing poverty: Immigration and poverty in the United States: A book of charts. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved from Importing Poverty: Immigration and Poverty in the United States: A Book of Charts
  38. Segal, E. (2013) Social Welfare Policy and Social Programs: A values perspective. Bellmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.
  39. Short, K. (2016). WHO IS POOR? Child poverty: Definition and measurement. ACADEMIC PEDIATRICS 2016;16: S 46–S51 https://www.academicpedsjnl.net/article/S1876-2859(15)00344-7/pdf
  40. Smeeding, T&Thévenot, C. (2016). Addressing child poverty: How does the United States compare with other nations? MPC. Acad Pediatr. Doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2016.01.011 PMCID: PMC6087662 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6087662/
  41. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2017). Unemployment rate and employment-population ratio vary by race and ethnicity. Ted the Economics Daily.
  42. https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/unemployment-rate-and-employment-population-ratio-vary-by-race-and-ethnicity.htm
  43. The United Nations Children’s Fund. (UNCF,2007). Child poverty in perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries. https://www.unicef.org/media/files/ChildPovertyReport.pdf