Income inequality linked to higher rates of child abuse and neglect
February 11, 2014
BCTR director John Eckenrode is lead author of a new article, Income Inequality and Child Maltreatment in the United States, published in February in the journal Pediatrics. Eckenrode, who also serves as director of the BCTR's National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN), co-authored the article with NDACAN researchers Elliott Smith, Margaret McCarthy, and Michael Dineen. The article reports findings from a study comparing substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect with nationwide county-level data on income equality and poverty, covering 3,142 U.S. counties. The study concluded,
Higher income inequality across US counties was significantly associated with higher county-level rates of child maltreatment. The findings contribute to the growing literature linking greater income inequality to a range of poor health and well-being outcomes in infants and children.
In a Cornell Chronicle article on the findings, Eckenrode is quoted, saying,
... reducing poverty and inequality would be the single most effective way to prevent maltreatment of children, but in addition there are proven programs that work to support parents and children and help to reduce the chances of abuse and neglect – clearly a multifaceted strategy is needed.
Support for the study came from the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Income inequality and child maltreatment in the United States - Pediatrics
Child abuse and neglect rise with income inequality - Cornell Chronicle
Child abuse rises with income inequality, Cornell study shows - Ithaca Journal
More kids struggle where the income gap widens - Christian Science Monitor
Rising child abuse linked to rising income inequality, study reports - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Kids may suffer in gaps between haves and have-nots - Reuters