To explore the similarities and contrasts between poor and non-poor families, Child Trends analyzed data for more than 100,000 families from the 2003 National Survey of Children's Health. Our results suggest that, although poor families experience socioeconomic disadvantages, these families may be enriched by the strengths found in their family routines and relationships. Specifically, we found that poor families are at a disadvantage when it comes to receiving services and benefits and are more likely to express concerns about their neighborhoods. On the other hand, we found that poor families do not differ from more affluent families in many ways, such as in the closeness of their relationships and the frequency of outings together or attending religious services. Also, while parents in poor households express concerns about neighborhood safety in general, they are just as likely to report feeling that their child is safe at home or at school as are parents who are better off. Moreover, we found that families in poverty are somewhat more likely to eat meals together. (Author abstract)
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