A Chance For Every Child


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Our seminal 1988 report on Oakland's Infants, Children, and Youth at Risk for Persistent Poverty

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A Chance For Every Child

  1. 1. A CHANCE FOR EVERY CHILD:Oaklands Infants, Children, and Youth at Risk for Persistent Poverty A Report by the Urban Strategies Council Oakland, California Februan;, 1988 DUPLICATE
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  3. 3. Mission StatementThe Urban Strategies Council is an Oakland but the current members are:based non-profit resource/policy group. Thefollowing is a statement of the Councils mission: Angela Glover Blackwell, The mission of the Urban Strategies Council Presidentis to involve key sectors of the Oakland area Most Reverend John S. Cummins, Bishop ofcommunity in comprehensive focused initiatives the Diocese of Oaklandaimed at reducing urban persistent poverty. Jane Garcia, Executive Director, La Clinica deThese initiatives will seek to increase the incomes la Razaof poor women and men heading families to The Reverend Will L. Herzfeld, D.D., Pastor,expand their opportunities; improve community Bethlehem Lutheran Churchhealth so individual options are not limited; Robert C. Maynard, Editor and President, Theimprove educational opportunities for citizens at Tribunerisk to provide all with the basics to compete and Robert W. Nichelini, Deputy Chief of Police ofbe productive; and insure that training, Oaklandemployment, and other opportunities are made Robert A.D. Schwartz, Attorney at Lawavailable, especially to the youth, to enable them Robert S. Shoffner, Vice-President, Firstto approach adulthood with empowerment and Interstate Bankdirection. Norma J. Tucker, President, Merritt College To accomplish this, the Urban Strategies James A. Vohs, Chairman and President ofCouncil will seek ways to encourage and facili- Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.tate the coordination and expansion of existingresources through the use of data to guide policyand the identification of approaches, models, and Address:activities that have proven successful in poverty Urban Strategies Councilreduction. In addition, the Urban Strategies Thornton HouseCouncil will rely on public education, convening, 672 13th Streetand advocacy capabilities to encourage and assist Oakland, California 94612in the development of strategies aimed at provid- (415) 893-2404ing a chance for every child. The Councils board is still in formation © Urban Strategies Council, 1988
  4. 4. AcknowledgementsOn behalf of the Urban Strategies Council, I wish to Paulicos P. Prastacos and Pertti Karjalainen ofto express appreciation and thanks to the many the Association of Bay Area Governments.people who, in the midst of their busy schedules, Very special appreciation for their honestytook time to find and interpret information and and openness to James Edwards, Katrinadata for us and share their personal insights re- Washington, Henry Mitchell, Julia Calhoun,garding the poverty risks which threaten Allison Mays-Reed, Donna Rhinehart, DebrahOaklands children and youth. Moutry, Judy Klein, and Bill Mayfield. In particular, we thank Denise Peebles and My deepest thanks to David Troutt, a recentKaren Hembry of the East Bay Perinatal Coundl, graduate of Stanford University who, during thisDr. Barbara Allen and Janis Burger of the past year as a research analyst, contributedAlameda County Health Care Services Agency, greatly to the production of this documentDr. Grace Carol Massey of the Institute for Devel- through research, data gathering, interviews, andopmental Studies, Dorothy Patterson of the Teen writing. I especially appreciated the sensitivityParent Assistance Program and Dr. Joseph and skill he exhibited in drafting the vignettes,Adwere-Boamah of the Office of Research and his persistence in developing the concept ofOakland Unified School District, Kati Haycock of the maps at the end of this document. Specialthe Achievement Council, Helen Cagampang of thanks to staff members Gloria Kennard andthe PACE Program at U.C. Berkeley, Floretta Edward F. Church and consultant Maria Casey.Chisolm of Oakland Head Start, Angela Johnson, In addition, I wish to acknowledge the intel-the Oakland Childcare Coordinator, Kathy lectual support I received from James Gibson ofArchuleta and Miles Frazell of the Alameda the Rockefeller Foundation and Michael Fix ofCounty Social Services Agency, Gay Plair Cobb the Urban Institute.of the Oakland Private Industry Council, Dr. Ann We are very grateful for the generousBouie-Wilson of Project Interface, Dr. James support from the following foundations thatJackson of Highland Hospital, Dora Monterrosa made this report possible: The William and Floraof La Clinica de la Raza, Christian Day, Tiona Ei- Hewlett Foundation, The Rockefeller Founda-nowski and especially Ann Gerken of the State tion, and The San Francisco Foundation.Data Program at U.C. Berkeley, Marc Teicholz,Research Assistant, and Johnny Lorigo of McCly- In gratitude and appreciation,monds High School. Angela Glover Blackwell Special thanks to Aileen Hernandez Asso- President and Executive Directorciates and Aileen Hernandez, in particular, for of the Urban Strategies Councilher guidance and ideas regarding this report; and 2
  5. 5. Table of ContentsAcknowledgements .................................... 2 3. Dropouts ............................................... 47 4. After School ......................................... 49Executive Summary .................................... 4 B. Work Experience ................................ .49 1. Unemployment .................................. .49Introduction .................................................. 7 2. Idleness ................................................. 49 3. Jobs and Job Training ......................... 50Chapter 1: Poverty in Oakland ............... 10 C. Teen Pregnancy ................................... 51A. A City in Transition ............................ 10 D. Role Models ......................................... 53B. Persisting Poverty ............................... 11 Three Futures ................................................ 551. Increasing Poverty .............................. 152. Children in Poverty ............................ 15 Conclusion ..................................................59Chapter 2: Families ................................... 17 Bibliography ............................................... 61A. Female-Headed Families ................... 17B. Geographical Concentration ............. 18C. Labor Force Disadvantages ............... 211. Non-Participation and Unemployment ............................ 222. Changing Occupational Structure .... 233. Earnings Capacity ............................... 254. Marriageability .................................... 25D. Welfare Recipiency ............................. 26Chapter 3: Infancy and Childhood ........ 29A. Health ................................................... 291. Infant Deaths ....................................... 292. At Greatest Risk .................................. 303. Dangers of Low Birthweight ............. 30A Healthy Baby ............................................ 324. Improving Services .............................34B. Education ............................................. 361. Preschool Education ........................... 362. Elementary School Education ........... 383. Middle and Junior High Schools ...... 38Tutorial ......................................................... 40Chapter 4: Adolescence .......................... .43A. School .................................................... 431. Skills ...................................................... 432. College Readiness .............................. .46 3
  6. 6. Executive SummaryWhat is the Urban Strategies Council? old. Three out of four poor children are Black. In The Urban Strategies Council is an Oakland- the poor neighborhoods in Oakland, 56 percentbased non-profit resource/policy group seeking of children live below the poverty level.to work with the Oakland community byproviding data, convening, and advocacy Where do these poor children live?support, to develop comprehensive, focused The majority of poor children in Oaklandinitiatives aimed at reducing urban persistent live in female-headed families. Seventy-fivepoverty. percent of families with children in poverty are headed by single women. Increasingly, theseIs poverty a serious problem in Oakland? poor families are living in neighborhoods that Serious, yes, but not catastrophic. In 1966, are predominantly poor. From 1970 to 1980,13 percent of Oaklands population lived below there was a 79 percent increase in the sheer num-the poverty leveL In 1980, 18 percent did. Of 20 bers of poor families with children living inlarge U.S. cities selected from a listing of the 50 neighborhoods in which at least 40 percent of thelargest cities in the 1980 Census in which Newark families there lived below the poverty level.had the highest poverty rate at 33 percent andSan Jose had the lowest at 8 percent Oakland Aie all families headed by females at risk forranked fourteenth between Washington, D.C. at persistent poverty?19 percent and Los Angeles at 16 percent. When No, in fact, while poverty is becoming morecompared with six geographically diverse central concentrated in families headed by singlecities, Oakland exhibits one of the lower rates of women, the proportion of female-headed fami-overall poverty and the highest level of schooling lies that are poor is shrinking. In 1970 half of allamong Black men and women over age 25. female-headed families were poor, but in 1980 Therefore, while poverty is a serious prob- one-third of such families were poor. The great-lem in Oakland, it is not as severe as it is in many est risks confront those women who lack educa-other cities. With enough resources put into tion and skills. Those females who were nottargeted, focused, proven strategies, we can achieving in school and dropped out, oftensignificantly reduce poverty here. beginning families as teenagers, are the most likely to be caught in the cycle of poverty.How many children in Oakland are poor? Thirty-seven percent of Oaklands children Can poor women heading families work theirare poor- more than 30,000. Of those, more than way out of poverty?10,000 are infants and toddlers under five years Yes, but only with basic skills and appropri- ate job training. A new urban landscape has 4
  7. 7. --- -·· - - -- - - - -- - -- - emerged in Oaklands job market over the last 20 early comprehensive prenatal care in increasing years, which threatens the incomes of entry-level birthweight and reducing infant mortality. Yet, wage earners raising families. Black males and in Alameda County, 20 percent of women did females suffer much higher rates of unemploy- not begin prenatal care during the first trimester. ment and non-participation than other groups. Entry-level jobs are now concentrated among What about preschool education as a way out of service and "pink-collar" (clerical and sales) poverty? industries where wages are low, benefits are few, Several longitudinal studies have shown and skill requirements are often high. that providing quality preschool education to low-income minority children not only improves What are the job opportunities for men? their performance in school, but improves their The disproportionately low earnings capac- life options as well. Yet, among nearly 11,500 ity for women has been coupled with the decline two- to five-year-olds receiving AFDC in in the number of men working full-time. In 1980 Oakland, fewer than 4,000 are involved in child- in Oakland, for every 100 Black females between care or preschool programs that could provide the ages of 25 and 34, there were only 45 Black this quality preschool experience. men of the same age working full time. Are poor children succeeding academically in Where does the poverty cycle begin? the Oakland public schools? It begins in poor families. And poor families Many are; but too many are not. Those at- are likely to produce infants at risk. In Alameda tending schools that are predominated by low- Countys high-risk areas, including most of income children appear at greatest risk. Among Oakland, between 1978 and 1984 the infant the elementary schools in Oakland there are 21 mortality rate averaged 13.9 deaths per thou- schools in which over 50 percent of the students sand. This rate was 59.8 percent greater than the receive AFDC. While some of these schools remaining parts of the county. Black infants appear to be outstanding, many appear to be in fared worse. In the same period, 1978 to 1984, need of assistance. The same is true for the the average Black infant mortality rate was 79.3 middle and junior high schools with high con- percent higher than the rest of the county. centrations of poor children. Low birthweight is the prime contributor to infant deaths. In 1985, 13 percent of Black babies What are the prospects for Oaklands youth? were born of low birthweight compared to 7 The threat of persistent poverty is stark for percent for the rest of the county. In the poverty at-risk youth. Students concentrated in schools areas of Alameda County, the low birthweight that are overwhelmingly poor are more likely to rates are over 10 percent. Births to teens are a underachieve academically and are not attending contributor to the high low birthweight rate in four-year institutions in the numbers that one the county. In 1985 in Alameda County, 3.2 would hope. At two high schools over 90 per- percent of all births were to teens under 17. But 5 cent of the students are Black and over 95 percent percent of all low weight births were to this of the students receive AFDC. During group. adolescence, the risk of persistent poverty is intensified by high dropout rates, teenage preg- What can be done to improve birthweights? nancies, and teen idleness. According to the 1980 There is no mystery concerning what is Census, of all youth aged 16 to 19 in Oakland needed to improve birth outcomes. For years the who are out of school, 51 percent of the high medical literature has confirmed the success of school graduates and 69 percent of the non-high 5
  8. 8. school graduates were unemployed or not in the The Council will also provide convening andlabor force. advocacy assistance to help develop and imple- ment these strategies to create a chance for every What can Oakland do to reduce the threat of child.persistent poverty? Oakland should build on its strengths todevelop comprehensive, community-widefocused initiatives to reduce the threat of persis-tent poverty. There are examples all aroundOakland of service providers addressing theissues of infant mortality, low birthweight,teenage pregnancy, youth idleness, appropriatejob training and quality educational experiences.We need to identify those programs and effortsthat are working and expand the availability ofthese important resources to all of Oaklandsfamilies, children, and youth in need. We need to provide support and commu-nity-wide cooperation and coordination forefforts that seek to: 0 Improve family incomes, by focusing onincreasing the earnings of females headingfamilies and increasing the job opportunities andthe earnings of at-risk males. 0 Improve child health by reducing thethreat of low birth weight. 0 Greatly expand the availability of qualitypreschool education for poor minority childrenand build excellence in our public schools,focusing especially on those schools with highconcentrations of poor children. 0 Provide greater options for youth throughefforts to connect the youth to health, socialservice and counseling support, after-school pro-grams, academic support, appropriate job train-ing programs, college readiness efforts,mentorships, and work opportunities.What can the Urban Strategies Council do toassist? The Urban Strategies Council is available asa resource to the entire Oakland community toprovide data about those in and at risk forpoverty, and information about approaches andmodels that are successfully reducing these risks. 6
  9. 9. IntroductionThe existence of a sizable population of minori- diverse role models. If these poverty trendsties trapped in what threatens to be persistent continue, the children of these families willpoverty is not a phenomenon peculiar to continue lives of poverty.Oakland. In fact, cities across the country are From the beginning, children growing up inexperiencing the entrenchment of the poor in poverty are overexposed to risk factors that leadincreasingly isolated and depressed neighbor- to continued deprivation. Their mothers often dohoods. This report explores the risks that not receive the prenatal care, nutrition, andthreaten to trap Oaklands children in a cycle of support necessary for a healthy birth. Prohibitivepersistent poverty. It challenges Oakland to cost and long waiting lists for subsidizedbuild upon its many strengths and become a childcare spaces severely limit access to accept-model for coordinating, targeting, and expanding able childcare arrangements. Access to qualityexisting resources to significantly relieve the preschool education that could provide the headthreat of long-term poverty. start needed for successful school performance is In the face of persistent poverty, Oakland lacking. These children often do not have qualityoffers real opportunities for building a healthier elementary, junior high, and high school experi-and more productive community. It is a city ences. Nor do they have the opportunities to dis-with a diversified economic base, a multicultural cover their talents through structured after-population, and committed, accessible civic lead- school programs in music, crafts, drama, art,ership. At various times all sectors of this com- creative writing or athletics.munity- private, public, volunteer, community- All too often because of the absence of jobbased organizations, churches - have demon- opportunities available to parents and otherstrated a willingness to work together to address community adults, these children are not ex-common community concerns. If persistent posed to adults who know the satisfaction ofpoverty can be effectively addressed any place, it working and being rewarded for that work.can be addressed in Oakland. What is needed is And, as older youth, they often do not havea sustained focus on the roots of persistent chances to work themselves and build the self-poverty and workable, coordinated initiatives to esteem that comes from a a job- and a paycheck.build pathways out. The result of this combined deprivation is According to the 1980 Census there are that many poor children growing up in Oak-10,559 families with children under 18 years in lands poor neighborhoods will live out theirOakland living below the poverty level. Increas- childhoods in poverty and begin a repetition ofingly, these families are concentrated in neigh- this insidious cycle unless we collectively beginborhoods that are isolated from services, employ- to act to provide real options.ment opportunities, community institutions, and This is not only a problem for the poor. 7
  10. 10. Americas continued prosperity and competitive dangerously low weight at birth, not havingstatus in the world depends on its ability to access to quality education and training, andeducate and provide avenues to productivity for spending the formative teenage years tdle. Ifpoor minority children. Current estimates are these four areas -family income, child health,that by the year 2020 one-third of the U.S. popu- education and training, and youth opportunity-lation will be minority. If current high levels of can be substantially improved, many more ofpoverty among minorities continue, a sizable Oaklands children will have a chance for anumber of those comprising the future work brighter future.force will be ill-equipped for the task. To con- Currently, there are impressive activities intinue to thrive, then, this country must do Oakland addressing various parts of this prob-something about the opportunities available to lem. But continued poverty here indicates thatthe poor. more needs to be done. We must expand on the Oaklands problems are only a microcosm of efforts that have proven successful and developthis larger American dilemma. Just as children new models in areas where needed. It is ourare the nations greatest future resource, they are hope that this report will serve as a catalyst foralso Oaklands greatest resource. While we may dialogues which will lead to the initiatives thatnot be able to fully control how our investment will build bridges to self-sufficiency.in that resource is handled on the federallevet in This document is divided into four chapters.Oakland we can and should control it. Oakland They are briefly summarized below.now has the service providers, the business and Chapter 1, Poverty in Oakland, looks atcommunity leadership, and the increasing stabil- Oakland as a city in transition and examines inity and prosperity to direct this investment some detail the growing numbers of poor, espe-wisely. cially children. Fortunately for Oakland, this citys poverty Chapter 2, Families, examines poor familiesis not as severe as that in many American cities -perhaps the single biggest risk factor for a lifeand the prospects for real opportunities are great. of persistent poverty. Yet, we know that allAccording to 1980 Census data the percent of people born into poverty do not stay there. Thispoverty in Oakland is less than that of Atlanta, chapter looks at female-headed families in pov-Baltimore, and Cleveland, all comparably sized erty and the shrinking opportunities available tocities. Oakland also has not been hit as hard, as men and women during the childbearing years.many eastern and midwestern cities have, by the Included is an examination of the increasingshift from manufacturing to service jobs. concentration of the poor in poor neighborhoods.Oaklands middle class has continued to flourish Chapter 3, Infancy and Childhood, exam-and H has a sizable Black middle class. ines infant mortality and low birthweight trends Yet, when fully one-third of Oaklands in Oakland emphasizing that a low birthweightchildren live in poverty, one can find little corn- baby born into a poor family is at extreme risk.fort in the knowledge that "things could be Lack of access to preschool programs inworse." But since poverty in Oakland is still Oaklands poor neighborhoods is then discussed,manageable, there is reason to hope that with followed by a look at poor minority children inresources, cooperation, and hard work we can Oaklands schools.confront the threat of continued poverty here. Finally, Chapter 4, Adolescence, explores This document examines the risk factors and the ominous signs of persistent poverty that arethe interrelationship of those factors that may apparent among the youth. Severe school under-lead to lives of persistent poverty; in particular, achievement, high dropout rates, low attendancebeing a member of a poor family and having a at four-year institutions, youth idleness, and 8
  11. 11. --·-- .. --- -----teenage pregnancy are all discussed as factors readable, we have almost entirely omitted foot-that lead to persistent poverty. notes from the text. However, what is gained Throughout this report when the term from readability is sometimes lost in providing"poverty" is used, unless defined otherwise, it valuable resources. Therefore, we have attachedrefers to persons living below the official poverty a short bibliography to the end of the reportlevel as used by the U.S. Census. This definition listing sources used in each chapter as well asis based on a calculation of the U.S. Department reference materials for the interested reader.of Agriculture. The level at which "poverty" In brief, U.S. Census Bureau data (1980)occurs is three times the amount of income, formed the core of the research strategy. Thebefore taxes, needed to buy enough thrifty Oakland Unified School Districts publishedfoodstuff to feed a family (adjusted according to school profiles, raw data from the Alamedathe size of the family). At the time of the 1980 County Department of Social Services, the EastCensus, the amount for a family of four was Bay Perinatal Councils Adolescent Family Life$8,414. In 1985, it was $10,650. Families are Program records, the Childrens Defense Fund,considered "below" the poverty level if their and calculations by the Association of Bay Areaincome is less than this amount. "Poverty level" Governments all proved indispensable. We alsodoes not take into account non-cash assistance, relied heavily on published reports, articles,such as Medicaid, food stamps, or subsidized studies, and periodical pieces from an array ofhousing. This is an imprecise measure at best, research institutes and scholars across the coun-but since it is used by many agencies, writers, try, most of whose works are listed in theand institutions, it is useful for purposes of bibliography.comparison. What follows is an attempt to identify the points in the cycles of poverty that are vulnerableAbout the Thematic Maps to interventions which can stop these cycles andIn the final appendix to this document, the create a chance for every child.reader will find four removable thematic mapsenclosed in a folder on the back cover. Directlyopposite is a base map showing Oaklands sevencommunity development districts. The grey areasrepresent areas in which at least 30 percent offamilies with children living there had incomesbelow poverty level in 1980. The four overlaymaps may be manipulated in various ways toshow the geographical concentration of AFDCrecipiency, births to teens, low birthweightbirths, and teen idleness (an index described inChapter 4) in relationship to these areas. We encourage the reader to orient him orherself with the maps when beginning the report,and to use them as hands-on reference pointsthroughout the body of the text.About the SourcesIn the hope of making our document more 9
  12. 12. ·- ····-·- - - - -- - -- - Chapter 1: Poverty in Oakland In the midst of prosperity and growth, poverty in Oakland remains a serious problem.For many people, California and prosperity are stantial disposable incomes. In the 1980 Censusinseparable. Today, California is the largest 132,000 East Bay households reported incomes ofstate, with more than 10 percent of the nations $35,000 or more, significantly more than anypeople and 12 percent of total personal income. other Bay Area county. Because of this affluence, The nine-county San Francisco Bay Area is the East Bay has become the largest metropolitanthe most affluent region of this affluent state. market in northern California.This expansive metropolis with its population of At the center of this prosperous region is5.6 million is the nations fourth largest metro- Oakland.politan area. With only 5 percent of Californiasland area, but one-fifth of its population, the BayArea has become one of the most prosperous A. City in Transitionmetropolitan regions in the United States. Per Oakland is a beautiful and prosperous city. It iscapita personal income in the Bay Area sails 10 nestled between a long waterfront and rollingpercent above the state average and nearly 30 foothills directly across the bay from San Fran-percent above the national average. cisco. Over 330,000 people live in Oakland, Although San Francisco is the Bay Areas housed in an architectural mixture of statelyoldest and most densely populated urban center, Victorians, rustic California bungalows, smallmost of the regions population now lives else- Mediterranean style homes, postwar tract hous-where around the Bay. Well over half of the ing, and contemporary stucco apartments.population of the Bay Area resides in three With its pleasant weather, waterfront ma-counties: Santa Clara County, which has over 1.4 rina, midtown lake, and sports coliseum,million residents, and Alameda and Contra Costa Oakland typifies Americas classic images ofCounties, the "East Bay," which have almost two California living.million residents. Oakland is also an employment center. The East Bay is the Bay regions biggest With a wholesale distribution and transportgrowth center. Its population is expanding over industry (based on one of the largest container10 percent every decade. A large proportion of ports in the world), several corporate headquar-East Bay residents are professionals with sub- ters, a regional concentration of government 11
  13. 13. agencies, and many small retail and service leadership positions in private institutions. Thisemployers, Oaklands economy has created more has so affected a wide spectrum of urban policiesjobs (an estimated 186;300) than its resident labor that in a 1983 nationwide comparison of majorforce (181,248). American cities, Oakland ranked as the most in- Oakland is both a beautiful California tegrated.community and a prospering Pacificmetropolis. But many Oakland citizens are poor. Al- B. Persisting Povertythough Oaklands population is only 30 percent The diverse civic representation, however, hasof the East Bay total, 60 percent of the high- not solved Oaklands problems of social econ-poverty East Bay census tracts are in Oakland. omy. A persistent poverty afflicts Oakland. ButTo understand poverty in Oakland it is impor- as the data on the following pages shows,tant to look at the changes which have taken Oaklands poverty is not nearly as severe as thatplace in the city over the past two generations. in many American cities. Oakland was a different city in the 1950s. It Table 1-1 demonstrates that Oaklands rateswas a manufacturing and shipping center popu- of poverty in 1980 and 1970 were comparable tolated by a relatively stable citizenry. Half of the those in other western cities both in terms ofcitys households owned their own homes. overall poverty and Black poverty. This was trueWhen Look maga-zine cited Oakland as its "All- concerning changes in poverty rates as well.American City" for 1957, non-whites were less Among 10 of the 20 cities represented, povertythan 20 percent of the citys population, and all of rates rose by four or more percentage points, theOaklands business leaders and elected officials greatest increase occurring in Newark, Newwere white males. Jersey (10.5). From 1970 to 1980, poverty in But like other American central cities, Oakland rose by only two percentage points.Oakland began to change. Postwar development Tables 1-2 through 1-5 compare Oaklandof new freeways and new suburbs started a with six geographically diverse central cities.process of "decentralization." Factories, horne- These comparisons reveal that Oaklands overallowners, and retail businesses began to leave and Black poverty rates are toward the low endOakland, while lower-income people, especially of the scale for all age groups. Also, levels ofracial and ethnic minorities, moved into the city schooling for Black men and women in Oaklandto replace those who were leaving. By the 1960s, are among the highest. So, as we examine pov-over 100,000 middle-income homeowners had erty in Oakland, it is appropriate to rememberleft Oakland, to be replaced by lower-income that neither the poverty nor the conditions inrenters. This process of demographic change Oakland are catastrophic.continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Oakland in the 1980s is a multiculturalcommunity. With a population 47 percent Black,10 percent Hispanic, and 8 percent Asian andPacific Islander, as well as 35 percent white,Oakland is the largest city in California wherepeople of color are a majority of the population. More than most California cities, Oaklandscivic leadership reflects this diversity. The past20 years have seen an ascendance of minorityand women leaders into electoral offices and 12
  14. 14. Table 1·1: Poverty Rates for 20 of Americas Largest Cities1Based on 1980 and 1970 Census Data Total Population Black Population Poverty Change Poverty ChangeCities Rate 1980 From 1970 Rate 1980 From 1970Newark, NJ2 33% 10.5 38% 10.8Atlanta, GA 28% 7.0 35% 5.3New Orleans, LA 26% -0.6 37% -6.7Miami, FL 25% 4.2 39% 7.1Baltimore, MD 23% 4.5 31% 3.9Cleveland, OH 22% 4.7 32% 4.4Detro~. Ml 22% 7.0 27% 4.7Philadelphia, PA 21% 5.2 32% 6.8San Antonio, TX 21% -0.8 29% -6.7Boston, MA 20% 4.0 29% 0.5Chicago,IL 20% 5.8 32% 6.6New York, NY 20% 5.2 30% 5.5Washington, DC 19% 1.7 22% 2.7Oakland, CA 18% 2.0 25% 0.1Los Angeles, CA 16% 3.1 26% 0.7Denver, CO 14% 0.0 23% -1 .4San Francisco, CA 14% -0.4 25% 0.Dallas, TX 14% 0.6 24% -5.8Seattle, WA 11 o/o 0.8 23% 0.5San Jose, CN 8% -0.6 15% -5.41 Representative cities, taken from the 50 largest U.S. cities.2 The city with the most poverty in the 50 largest cities.3 The city with the least poverty in the 50 largest cities. 13
  15. 15. Table 1·2: Oakland and Six Central Cities Compared, 1980 District of Atlanta Baltimore Boston Cleveland Dallas Columbia OaklandGeographic Area South Mid-Atlantic Northeast Midwest Southwest Mid-Atlantic West CoastPopulation 425,072 780,775 562,994 573,822 904,078 638,333 339,337Peroent Black 67% 55% 22% 44% 29% 70% 47%Souroe: U.S. Bureau of the Census (1982).Table 1·3: Percentage of Persons Below Poverty Level by Age,Oakland and Six Central Cities Compared, 1980 District ofAge of group Atlanta Baltimore Boston Cleveland Dallas Columbia OaklandChildren under 16 40% 34% 32% 32% 21% 28% 30%Persons 16-64 23% 20% 18% 19% 11% 16% 17%Persons 65+ 26% 19% 13% 20% 17% 19% 11%Note: Excludes inmates of institutions, persons in military group quarters and in college dormitories and unrelated individuals under 15years. Data are estimates based on samples.Souroe: U.S. Bureau of the Census (1981a), Table 245. 14
  16. 16. Table 1-4: Percentage of Black Persons Below Poverty Level by Age,Oakland and Six Central Cities Compared, 1980 District of Atlanta Baltimore Boston Cleveland Dallas Columbia OaklandChildren under 16 45% 41% 40% 43% 31% 31% 36%Persons 16-64 29% 26% 24% 24% 20% 18% 22"/oPersons 65+ 39% 32"/o 20% 32"/o 39% 25% 15%Note: Excludes inmates of inst~utions, persons in military group quarters and in college dormitories, and unrelatedindividuals under 15 years. Data are estimates based on samples.Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census (1981a), Table 245.Table 1-5: Years of School Completed by Black Men and Women Aged 25 and Over,Oakland and Six Central Cities Compared, 1980 District of Atlanta Baltimore Boston Cleveland Dallas Columbia OaklandBlack males 25 & over:Completed 8th grade or less 28% 33% 18% 24% 20% 23% 18%Completed 4 years of high school 50% 42% 63% 48% 59% 64% 67%Completed 4+ years of college 10% 6% 10% 4% 9% 13% 11 %Black females 25 & over:Completed 8th grade or less 26% 26% 17% 20% 18% 19% 16%Completed 4 years of high school 51% 47% 60% 51% 60% 65% 66%Completed 4+ years of college 10% 7% 8% 4% 9% 12% 9%Note: Data are estimates based on samples.Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, (1981c) Table 132. 15
  17. 17. found that the poverty rate for children increased by 35 percent between 1979 ~d 1983, and by Table 1-6: Poverty in Oakland even greater margins if alternative definitions of poverty are used. The risk is much higher for 1966 1970 1980 1986 (est) children of color, who are two to three times Total population 373,460 361,561 339,337 352,100 more likely to be poor than white children. The patterns of poverty among Oaklands Below poverty 46,720 58,534 61,609 80,092 children are no different. In Oakland, out of every 100 children, 37live in poverty. Over Poverty rate 13% 16% 18% 23% 30,000 children in Oakland are growing up poor, Sourcs: 1966 figures, City Household survey; 1970 and 1980, including almost 10,000 babies under five years U.S. Census; 1986, based on ABAG estimates and national old. The poverty rate among children who live poverty trends in Oaklands low-income neighborhoods is even more striking. There out of every 100 children, 56 live in poverty. These trends are illustrated in Table 1-7.1. Increasing Poverty By racial and ethnic group, the disparities inOver the past 20 years, poverty has become more child poverty in Oakland are alarming. Forpervasive in Oakland. In 1966, a special survey white children, the poverty rate is 2.7 percent; forof households found that 46,720 Oakland resi- Black children, 35.7 percent; for Native Ameri-dents lived in poverty, about one-eighth of the cans, 35 percent; for Hispanics, 28.8 percent; andcitys total population. for Asians and Pacific Islanders, 21.8 percent. A generation later, the poverty rate has The remainder of this document examinesalmost doubled. In 1980, the census counted the risk factors that threaten to entrap these poor61,609 persons below the poverty level, almost children in a cycle of persistent poverty.one-fifth of Oaklands total population. Todayestimates are that approximately 80,000 peopleare living in poverty, nearly a fourth ofOaklands population. Data on poverty in Oakland over the past 20years are shown in Table 1-6. (The current level Table 1-7: Oakland Children in Povertyof poverty in Oakland can only be approximated.The Citys Department of Social Services esti- Citywide Poverty Areasmates that there are 90,000 people in Oakland at 1980 1986 (est.) 1980 1986 (est.)or near poverty. In deriving the figure of 80,000, Persons under 18 80,476 83,503 37,020 38,412we have assumed that Oakland has reflected thenational economic trends that produced a 30 Below poverty 22,852 30,825 15,800 21,330percent increase in poverty nationwide in thefive years between 1979 and 1984.) Poverty rate 28% 37% 43% 56% Source: 1980 figures, U.S. Census; 1986, based on ABAG2. Children in Poverty estimates and national poverty trendsEven more unsettling than overall poverty is theprevalence of poverty among children. Childrenmake up nearly 40 percent of the countrys poor.A report by the Congressional Research Service 16
  18. 18. .- - ·--- -- - - - - Chapter 2: Families Persistent poverty begins in families - often headed by single women.More and more families are living below the the poverty line were headed by women. poverty line in Oakland, though general popula-tion has remained fairly stable over the last 0 The concentration of poor families into verydecade. One out of five families with children poor neighborhoods has dramaticallywas poor in 1970, compared to one in four by increased, along with their isolation from the1980. The sheer numbers of poor families in- citys mainstream.creased by 30 percent during that decade. Therewere two thousand additional Black families 0 A new urban landscape emerging in citiesliving below the poverty line in 1980. like Oakland during the last 20 years has This chapter examines the families of changed the job opportunities available toOaklands at-risk children by focusing on the adults with few skills and little education.opportunities available to their parents. Todays parents grapple with jobs that payEmphasis is placed on the increase in poor less, require higher skills, and are oftenfemale-headed families and the neighborhoods unattainable.of dense poverty where they live. Additionally,the growing labor force disadvantages facing 0 Labor force disadvantages have kept theyoung parents of at-risk children and the rising numbers of economically marriageable Blackrate of welfare recipiency are chronicled. The males low and continue to hit female-headedevolution of a new urban landscape - where families hardest.families are isolated from opportunities andwhere many of Oaklands children grow up at 0 Welfare recipiency, which increased bygreat risk- is apparent. · 25 percent between 1970 and 1980, is still on In Oakland: the rise in Oaklands entrenched poverty areas.0 Almost three out of four homes where poor children live are headed by single women, and three out of four poor children are Black. A. Female-Headed Families No poverty trend is more significant than the0 Four out of five Black families living below increase in the proportion of female-headed 17
  19. 19. families that are poor since 1970; this increase Poverty has become concentrated amongposes the greatest risk to Oaklands children. female-headed families, but the actual risk ofWhen the females heading these families lack poverty in these families has declined. For ex-education and skills, there are few opportunities ample, half of all female-headed families into improve the families incomes. The low Oakland were poor in 1970, but in 1980, one-earnings force these females heading families third of such families were poor. Clearly, someinto the poorest neighborhoods, further isolating single women with children are at much greaterthe women and their children from resources and risk for poverty than others.opportunities. The risk of poverty among female-headed The number of female-headed families families has been greatest in Oaklands Blackliving below the poverty line in Oakland in- community. Seventy-two percent or 16,412 ofcreased by 43 percent between 1970 and 1980. In Oaklands 22,809 female-headed families were1970, female-headed families in Oakland repre- Black in 1980. The number of Black female-sented two-thirds of all the citys families in headed families that were poor increased by 65poverty (65.6 percent), as shown in Table 2-1. By percent between 1970 and 1980, from 3,860 to1980, they represented nearly three-quarters of 6,355 (Table 2-2). In 1970, they accounted for 35all poor families (72.1 percent). percent of all Black families and 73.4 percent of For children living below the poverty line Black families in poverty. But in 1980, 42 percentthe increase was identical. In 1970, two-thirds of all Black families were headed by women, and(65.7 percent) of Oaklands poor children under they represented 80.3 percent of Black families in18lived in female-headed families. In 1980, 70.2 poverty.percent of all poor children lived in such families. While nearly the same proportion of Black children were poor in 1970 as in 1980, there has been a growing concentration of poor children in single-parent homes. Between 1970 and 1980 the number of Black children who were poor and Table 2-1 : Female-Headed Families and their living in single-parent households increased by Children in Poverty in Oakland, 16 percent. In fact, by 1980 approximately 50 1970 and 1980 percent of all Black children from single-parent homes lived in poverty. 1970 1980 Change Poverty among female-headed families is Total poor families 8,105 10,559 +30.3% also devastating in Oaklands Native American community. Nearly a quarter (23.6 percent) of Female-headed 5,31 6 7,615 t43.2% Native American families were below the pov- poor families erty line in 1980. Of those, 58 percent were (%of total) (65.6%) (72.1%) headed by single women. More than a third of Total children living 22,411 22,413 0% Native American children under 16 were poor. in poverty Poor children in female- 14,729 15,735 +6.8% B. Geographical Concentration headed families Increased family poverty has been accompanied (%of total) (65.7%) (70.2%) by a growing concentration of low-income Source: 1970 U.S. Census, Tables 208 & 212; families into high poverty areas. Many poor 1980 U.S. Census, Table 250 people in Oakland live in "pockets of poverty," neighborhoods populated almost exclusively by 1R
  20. 20. - -- - ---·-·- -- -- -- of poverty areas increased between 1970 and 1980 by 13.2 percent. · Table 2-2: Black Female-Headed Families as An additional graphic illustration of the Percentage of all Black Families and those in overall increase in the concentration of poor Poverty in Oakland, 1970 and 1980 families into very poor neighborhoods is shown in a comparison between the maps found on the 1970 1980 Change next two pages. The shaded areas represent clusters of census tracts in which 30 percent or Total Black female- 6,731 16,412 +143% headed families more of all families with children were poor. As = % of all Black females 35% 42% the maps show, the number of census tracts designated as high poverty areas in 1970 had Total Black female- 3,860 6,355 +64% increased by almost 10 percent in 1980. During headed poor families that time, the number of poor families living in =% of all poor Black families 73.4% 80.3% those areas increased by 58.5 percent. Overall, Source: 1970 U.S. Census, Tables 208 & 212; half of all Oaklands poor families with children 1980 U.S. Census, Table 250 lived in these areas. (These maps may also be compared to the ones in the last appendix of the book.) The impact of concentration on persistentpoor and near-poor families and individuals. urban poverty was first discussed by the noted Between 1970 and 1980, the number of sociologist William Julius Wilson in his examina-poverty areas in Oakland increased, and the tion of the changing landscape of inner cities.number of poor families living in the areas of The consequence of concentration is isolation,most extreme poverty significantly increased. It according to Wilson. Low-income familiesshould be noted, however, that at the same time,many poor families moved out of poverty areas. Information derived from the 1970 and 1980Censuses reveals changing trends in the concen- Table 2-3: Families with Children in Poverty:tration of poor families in Oaklands neighbor- Geographical Growth &Density, 1970 and 1980hoods. There has been a greater influx of poorfamilies into areas where the density of poverty 1970 1980 Changeis the highest. Table 2-3 shows that fewer low-income families lived in areas of 20 to 29 percent Total families w/children with 8,105 10,559 +30%poverty in 1980 than ten years earlier. However, below-poverty incomes40 percent more poor families lived in more living in areas with:densely poor areas, the 30 to 39 percent tracts. 0-19% poverty 1,977 2,238 +13.2%The greatest increase came in the areas of mostextreme concentration, tracts with at least 40 20-29% poverty 2,279 2,217 -2.7%percent of families in poverty. Nearly 80 percent 30-39% poverty 2,105 2,979 +40%more low-income families lived in such areas in1980 than in 1970. Poor families in these areas 40% and greater poverty 1,744 3,125 +79%represented almost a third of all poor families inOakland. Source: 1980 U.S. Census; Association of The table also indicates a more promising Bay Area Governments (ABAG) Cedar data basetrend: the number of poor families living outside 19
  21. 21. Family Poverty, 1980 (>30% of all families with childrenunder 18living below poverty) Elmhurst San Antonio Chinatown/Central Areas of Poverty-Existing Since 1970 - Areas of Poverty-New (after 1970)one family in three lived in these areas. The pro- 0 high rates of unemployment and non-portion of families with children living in areas participation;of extreme poverty jumped from 9 percent to 15.4percent during the same period. 0 a shift from well-paying to low-paying jobs; Isolation lies at the heart of persistent pov-erty. For families in Oakland, the risk is rapidly 0 generally decreased earnings capacity forgrowing. workers with inadequate skills and no college degree;C. Labor Force Disadvantages 0 wide disparities between the earningsLabor force disadvantages now faced by a gen- capacity of men and women; anderation of Oakland workers are reflected by thefollowing trends: 0 a comparatively smaller pool of fully 21
  22. 22. employed Black men than men from other are typically forming families. ethnic groups. For most ethnic groups, young adults typi- cally have a hard time finding steady work, but In examining the potential risk for persistent their job prospects improve dramatically as theypoverty, we concentrate in this section on the reach their late twenties and early thirties. Dur-labor force status of adults between 20 and 34 ing 1980, non-participation among white andyears old - hereafter referred to as "prime-aged" Hispanic men was halved between the 20- to 24-- because they represent the young parents of year-old and 25- to 34-year-old age groups.the current generation of children. For many Asian and Pacific Islander males (whose experi-prime-aged workers, the current labor force ences vary among ethnic groups) saw an overallpicture presents great uncertainty about their decrease in non-participation of about two-ability to support a family. thirds. For Black men, however the decrease in labor force non-participation in their twenties and thirties was modest -a reduction of only six percent, as seen in the table.1. Non-Participation and Rates of non-participation by women in the Unemployment labor force are much higher than for men, as theThe unemployment rate for all of Oakland table indicates, and an ethnic pattern similar toaveraged about 9 percent in 1986, but it varied that of the male unemployment picture emerges.widely by race, age, and gender - particularly for White and Asian and Pacific Islander prime-agedprime-aged people of color. Table 2-4 shows women experience lower rates of non-participa-these trends based on the 1980 Census. tion over time than Black and Hispanic women. Black males aged 20 to 34 were unemployed Hispanic women have the highest non-participa-at rates three times higher than white males of tion rates overall. It is important keep in mind,the same age, who have the lowest rates of however, that many more Black women in thisunemployment. Prime-aged Native American age group are heading families than women frommales had twice the level of unemployment aswhite males. While unemployment among 20- to34-year-old Hispanic males was much higherthan it was for whites, it was still about half the Table 2-4: Unemployment Rates forrate for same-age Black males. Unemployment Prime-Aged Adults in Oakland in 1980among Asian and Pacific Islander males wasmuch closer to the levels among whites. Prime- 20- to 24-year-old 25- to 34-year·oldaged women experience sirniliar unemployment Men Women Men Womentrends across ethnic groups It is important to note than unemployment Black 28.7 18.6 17.3 9.8rates only count workers temporarily outside the 15.6 Hispanic 17 8.7 8.3workforce. Not reflected are the persistentlypoor adults who may remain out of work for Asian & 10.4 5 6 4.9extended periods - often months or even years. Pacific IslanderTable 2-5 on the next page shows the percentagesof prime-aged men and women who did not White 9.4 7.5 5.3 5.2participate in the labor force at all during 1980. SourC$: 1980 U.S. Census, STF 48Again, the rate of non-participation is highestamong Blacks at a time in their lives when they 22
  23. 23. require more education, pay less, and have made it harder for both displaced and entry-level Table 2-5: Non-Participation Rates for workers to find employment and achieve in- comes sufficient to escape poverty. Prime-Aged Adults in Oakland in 1980 Table 2-6 illustrates changes in Oaklands 20. to 24-year-old 25- to 34-year-old occupational structure for employed Black and Men Women Men Women Hispanic men and women compared to total workers between 1970 and 1980. (Note: The Black 23.3 39.2 17.4 30 reader is reminded that the most recent, detailed data on employment and occupational trends for Hispanic 21 48.7 11 .6 43.6 Oakland are only as current as the 1980 Census Asian & 32.7 31.8 11.4 25 and that in most cases trends are estimated to Pacific Islander have continued. Also, data for Asian-Americans and Native Americans were not available for White 20.8 25.8 9.1 21 .6 1970.) For Oakland as a whole, the trade-off is Sourcs: U.S. Census 1980, STF 48 clear: white-collar employment increased by 7 percent during the last decade while blue-collar work declined by the same percentage. So-calledother ethnic groups. The high non-participation "pink-collar and service sector employment didrates of Black women in Oakland create the not change significantly during that time. How-greatest risks for children since they head fami- ever, the picture is different for workers of color.lies at twice the rate of Hispanic women and Black workers increased their proportion inthree times that of white and Asian women. the workforce from 29 percent to 40 percent from The deficits in education, training, and 1970 to 1980, and two major trends occurred. Onsupport experienced by the parents of todays at- the one hand, the number of Black professionalsrisk children may be replicated by the next increased by 150 percent, so that by 1980, one ingeneration of workers. The changing industrial five employed Black persons held a white-collarlandscape that has caught many prime-aged job. On the other hand, many blue-collar jobsworkers ill-prepared today may threaten their were lost and appear to be almost directly tied tochildren tomorrow. the increase in sales and clerical or pink-collar work (shaded area, Table 2-6). About 39 percent of employed Black persons2. Changing Occupational Structure held industrial jobs in 1970, compared to only 26As a result of recession and the widespread percent 10 years later. Most of these jobs weregrowth of high-tech industries in the Bay Areas held by men. The increase in pink-collar jobs didsuburbs, the manufacturing jobs that once prom- not make up for this loss, since most of these jobsised good pay and benefits to workers with few pay less and have fewer benefits. They are alsoskills and little education have rapidly dried up. mostly held by women.While many white-collar workers have fared well Among the Black employed, one in threein Oaklands industrial restructuring, perhaps held a sales or clerical job in 1980, whereas only ajust as many workers in other sectors have been quarter of working Blacks did in 1970. Thedisplaced or left out - particularly Blacks. The migration to lower-paying pink-collar workdominance of new occupations, particularly in amounted to a doubling in the sheer number ofthe service and so-called "pink-collar sectors Blacks in the sector and half of all such workers 23
  24. 24. --·--·---- - ----- Table 2-6: Occupational Restructuring Percentages of Total, Black, &Hispanic Workers in 4 Employment Sectors in Oakland, 1970 and 1980 Total70 Total80 Black 70 Black 80 Hispanic 70 Hispanic 80 White-collar 32,224 42,169 4,440 11,166 2,018 1,822 (Professional, technical, 23.1% 29.5% 10.8% 19:3% 16.6% 15.2% management, administrative) Pink-collar 42,106 43,847 9;784 19,257 - 2,982 2,669 (Sales, clerical) 30.2% 30.7% 23=.8% 33.3% 23.6% 22.2% Blue-collar 42,761 33,674 15,902 15;277 5,238 4,817 (Craftspeople, laborers, operatives) 30.7% 23.4% 38.9% 26.4%· 41.7% 40.1% Services 18,432 21,539 8,418 11,438 1,608 2,476 13.2% 15.1% 20.6% 19.8% 12.75% 20.6% Source: 1970 U.S. Census, Tables 85, 86, 88, 92, 93, 98, 99; 1980 U.S. Census, Table 12, Report 3in Oakland. According to census data, there was fact that there was no significant increase in thea nine percent increase in the proportion of Black percentage of white-collar Hispanic workersworkers who held lower-paying jobs in just 10 suggests that the group did not substantiallyyears. benefit as much from the growth in that sector. This movement of so many workers from (Note: The criteria defining a person of Spanishblue- into pink-collar jobs during the late seven- origin changed in the 1980 Census; this changeties has had a profound impact on family income. makes it difficult to compare certain elements ofYoung adult workers and more experienced 1970 and 1980 Census data).workers displaced by plant closures increasingly In summary, the changing structure ofhad to tum to much lower paying employment available work benefited many professionals butin the pink-collar sector. According to the displaced untold numbers of manufacturingOakland Private Industry Counc.il s 1986 study of workers and younger entry-level workers. Manythe job market, the average hourly wage paid for were forced to work in lower-paying pink-collarentry-level pink-collar employees ranged be- and service jobs. The greatest increases cametween $4.90 to $5.93 an hour. The blue-collar among Blacks, whose employment in low-wageaverage wage range was about $5.47 to $9.50 an jobs increased by almost 9 percent in as manyhour. The difference is magnified by the lack of years. Clearly, the doubling of Black workershealth and other benefits provided for most pink- employed in white-collar jobs did not compen-collar workers. sate for the loss of industrial employment. Hispanic workers experienced less change There is mounting evidence that the currentbetween 1970 and 1980, except for an 8 percent trend especially impacts Hispanics and recentincrease in service employment. However, the immigrants from Central America and Southeast 24
  25. 25. Asia who suffer, like many Blacks, from a lack of women in 1980. Such huge inequities are com-skills and education, but who also confront mon to all ethnic groups and all ages.language barriers and problems tied to uncertain These differences in earnings and incomeimmigrant status. Finally, there is no indication have serious consequences for families headedthat this trend has changed since 1980. by women. Not only do women workers make less than men in Oakland, but their earnings decline as they get older and more experienced.3. Earnings Capacity This is due in part to the jobs typically heldA 1980 analysis of mean annual earnings among by women. Women are still concentrated in low-Oaklands high school graduates working full paying occupations, such as clerical or service time compared to dropouts suggests that many work. In 1980, more than half (52 percent) of prime-aged adults are struggling against uncer- working women in Oakland held such jobs. tainty. Another reason is clearly discrimination. Data from the 1980 Census reveals that the According to a 1987 report by the Womens earning power of Black and Hispanic high school Economic Agenda Project, women are the leastgraduates does not appear to significantly in- unionized workers. Seven out of ten minimumcrease with age. Though dropouts typically wage workers are women. Increasing the earn-made less than working graduates, dropouts saw ings capacity of women to the level of mena steadier increase in earnings capacity as they would have profound effects in lifting familiesgained experience. This is important because out of poverty.workers expect that their earnings will increasewith experience and that their high school diplo-mas will boost their pay scales beyond non- 4. Marriageabilitygraduates. When younger workers see older Another indication of labor force disadvantagesworkers with high school degrees struggling is the pool of economically marriageable men-financially, the incentives that motivate people to defined as the number of males working full timestay in school or to continue in low-paying jobs per 100 females of the same age and racial group.may deteriorate. Though it is not a perfect measure, the index of It is gratifying to note that a college degree marriageability sheds light on how labor forcesubstantially increases earnings capacity. While disadvantages affect single-parent families. It as-some college experience was correlated to higher sumes that the more males of marriage age areearnings among workers of all ages, ethnicities holding down full-time employment, the lowerand genders, those with a degree still made will be the rates of single-parent, female-headedsignificantly more. households. Several studies have provided Women still make much less. For women in support for this assumption. In Oakland, (as inOakland, the earnings capacity is even more many large cities), marriageability is lowest andbleak and the consequences more severe for the proportion of female-headed families isthose heading families. For example, the mean highest among Black adults.annual earnings for 25- to 34-year-old women Figures from the 1980 Census show rates ofwith a high school diploma was $11,426 in 1980. economic marriageability for four prime-agedFor men of the same age and schooling the figure groups. For every one hundred 25- to 34-year-was $14,315, or 20 percent more. The difference old women of Spanish origin there were 72 same-is the same for more educated workers. Among aged males working in full-time jobs. For whites25- to 34-year-old college educated Blacks, for (including some of Spanish origin) the mar-instance, men earned 24.5 percent more than riageability rate was 65 males per 100 women; 25
  26. 26. among Asian and Pacific Islanders the rate was59. But only 45 Black males in the age groupworked full time in 1980. (Note: marriageability Table 2·8: Public Assistance in Oakland,data for Native Americans were not available for 1980-19861980.) 1980 1986 IncreaseD. Welfare Recipiency Total cash recipients 49,904 52,785 5.8%The combination of poor education, unemploy-ment and constraints on two-parent family AFDC recipients 44,726 49,872 11.5%formation leads many single mothers and theirchildren into an almost inescapable dependence *AFDC includes family group and unemployed programson public welfare payments. Table 2-7 shows the labor force status of Source: Alameda County Social SeNices Agency dataBlack female householders in Oakland for 1980,indicating two significant trends. First, manyBlack single mothers work, but their unemploy- has accompanied Oaklands increase in povertyment as a group is still higher than for other over the past two decades. Between 1970 andwomen. Because of the high proportion of 1980 the number of families receiving publicwomen in minimum wage jobs, many single assistance increased by 25.6 percent, from 12,330mothers in Oakland work full time yet still earn to 15A89. This growth in welfare recipiency hasless than the poverty level. Second, the propor- continued throughout the 1980s.tion of Black single mothers who are not in the In 1986, according to Alameda Countylabor force at all is almost as great as those who welfare statistics, 52,785 people in Oaklandare. received cash public assistance. Table 2-8 shows Many- but not all- single mothers outside that this represents a 5.8 percent increase. Ifthe labor force in Oakland receive some kind of recipients of Medi-Cal and food stamps arepublic assistance. Many single mothers within included, the number of welfare recipients inthe labor force also require assistance. Oakland totals 63,383. The increase among An increase in dependence on public welfare recipients of AFDC alone, about 75 percent of whom are single mothers, was 11.5 percent. Using 1980 Census data, we can see how public assistance recipiency breaks down for Table 2-7: Labor Force Status of Black families of different ethnic groups in Oakland. Female Householders in Oakland in 1980 Thirty-two percent of Native American families received some public assistance income in 1980, Number Rate/Percent the largest rate for any ethnic group. Twenty- eight percent of Black families and 18.2 percent of Employed 8,034 Hispanic families received assistance. Among Asian and Pacific Islanders, 12.6 percent of Unemployed 1,080 11.8 (rate) families received assistance, and 7.5 percent of Not in labor force 7,283 44.3 (percent) white families. Cash welfare assistance is provided to about Source 1980 U.S. Census, STF 48 15 percent of Oaklands population, less than the total number in poverty. The dilemma of the 26
  27. 27. working poor on the one hand, and the problems with other factors has created unprecedented of getting eligible families to programs are numbers of poor female-headed families in illustrated by the 1980 Census, which found that Oakland. One contributing factor for Black over one-third of the families receiving assistance families may be the small pool of economically had incomes above the official poverty line and marriageable men aged 25 to 34. that barely half (51 .5 percent) of families below In the next two chapters the focus turns to the poverty line received assistance. the infants, children, and youth themselves, (Areas of Oakland in which welfare recipi- revealing a pattern of risk that unnecessarily ency includes at least half of all families with threatens so many young lives in Oakland. children under 18 is shown in one of several removable maps on the back cover.) The direct costs of the welfare system to local government are enormous. Even thoughbenefits are small (for example, AFDC recipientscurrently receive abut $194 monthly per personfor a family of three), Alameda County spendsover $200 million annually for welfare programs,including about $130 million for Oakland resi-dents. Summary: Factors that put Oaklands in-fants, children, and youth at risk for persistentpoverty begin with the environments where theylive and the opportunities available to their adultparents. Family poverty has increased since1970, especially among those families headed bysingle women. Today, the poor are more concen-trated and isolated from people and institutionsthat connect families to information, employ-ment, and services. Poverty among prime-aged adults hasbecome a story of chronic labor force disadvan-tages and increased single-parent families. Un-employment has remained high and significantnumbers of people of color are out of the laborforce altogether. When work is found, todaysjobs often require more skills for less pay. Full-time employment no longer guarantees a stableearnings capacity and a high school diploma hasless value than it did 10 years ago. The newurban landscape in which many entry-level andformer manufacturing workers seek jobs, im-poses its greatest hardships on women of colorand Black men. The consequence of labor force disadvan-tages among adult men and women combined 27
  28. 28. - - - - ----------------- - Chapter 3: Infancy and Childhood Poor wome~ are more likely to have small babies at risk for phystcal, mental, and learning disadvantages . ·.A. Health is: poor babies are dying needlessly.In Oakland, as in central cities across this coun- The infant mortality rate (deaths of infants try, poor health encumbers the lives of people :ho are born alive but die during the first year of trapped in persistent poverty. From birth, and life per 1,000 live births) is used throughout the even before, the poor often do not receive the world as an indicator of a nations overall health, care necessary for a healthy beginning. reflecting the economic, educational, and social Oakland is a regional center for the health well-being of a society. The United States, withcare industry. As home to a complex of hospitals an infant mortality rate of 10.7, currently ranksand medical institutions, Oakland offers sophisti- sixteenth in the world.cated, modern medical care for much of the East Infant mortality in Oaklands poor neighbor-Bays populace. - hoods s~ars above the national rate. For the past But numerous North and West Oakland decade, mfant mortality in Oakland has been aneighborhoods - and every single census tract in public concern, largely because of the 1978East Oakland -have been designated as "medi- discovery that neighborhoods in East Oaklandcally underserved areas" by the U.S. Department had an extremely high infant mortality rate, 26of Health and Human Services. This designation deaths per 1,000 live births.is based in part on the prevalence of poverty, the To counteract this infant death trend, the~hortage of primary care physicians, and high California Department of Health Services initi- ated the Oakland Perinatal Health Project inmfant mortality rates. 1979, which allocated funds to support commu- nity-based programs providing comprehensive1. Infant Deaths prenatal care to residents of Oaklands poorBabies born into poor families face greater risks neighborhoods. Largely because of this three-of mal~utrition, infectious disease, and perma- year effort, the infant mortality rate in Eastnent disorders than those born into families with Oakland was reduced to 16.5 per 1,000 live births?Teater resources. But the grimmest results of by 1982.Impoverished infancy are the infant deaths Since then, however, the infant mortalitywhich occur all too frequently. The simple fact rate for Oaklands poor neighborhoods has
  29. 29. remained high. Table 3-1 shows the 1981-84three-year average infant mortality rates forOaklands high risk neighborhoods. During the Table 3·2: Infant Mortality Rates,same period, the Alameda County rate averaged Alameda County 198510.0. Per 1000 Live Births These seven low-income neighborhoods areamong ten Health Planning Areas in AlamedaCounty that have been identified as high-risk" ~ Neighborhoods • Ethnlclty - California Ratedue to high rates of infant mortality. There are atotal of 37 Health Planning Areas in the whole 20county. 152. At Greatest Risk 10 -----r-~~~---Black babies born into poverty are at the greatestrisk. In 1984, the latest year for which complete 5statistics are available.~ the Black infant mortalityrate in Alameda County was 17.5. The rate was High· Non- Black Non-Blackthe highest in the county for any populations and Risk High-Risk136 percent higher than the non-Black rate. And Black childbearing families are concen-trated in Oakland. Although only 23 percent ofthe countys childbearing women live in According to statistics from the AlamedaOaklands poor neighborhoods, 64 percent of all County Health Care Services Agency, the infantBlack childbearing women live there. More than mortality rate in the high-risk neighborhoods ofone-third of all births to Black women were Alameda County averaged 13.9 from 1978 toamong residents of three East Oakland high-risk 1984. This rate was 59.8 percent greater than inneighborhoods. the remaining parts of the county. Even among the disadvantaged, Black infants fared worse. In the same period, 1978 to 1984, the average Black infant mortality rate was 79.3 percent higher than the rest of the county. Table 3-1: Infant Mortality Rates in High-Risk These disparities are not subsiding. Table Neighborhoods in Oakland, 1981·84 3-2 shows group differences in infant mortality rates for 1985. High-risk neighborhood 1981·84 Infant mortality rate 3. Dangers of Low Birthweight North Oakland/Emeryville 15.7 Though sad and disturbing, infant mortality is North Broadway . 14.3 only part of a larger problem: low birthweight. West Oakland 18.3 Nationally,low birthweight babies (less than Highland 10.9 five and one-half pounds at birth) account for East Oakland I 15.0 fully three-fourths of infant deaths within the East Oakland II 17.5 first year. But most low birthweight babies live, East Oakland Ill 13.5 Alameda County 10.0 and they are at risk from the beginning. In addition to risking death, they risk long stays in neonatal intensive care, recurring physical 30
  30. 30. problems, mental disability, learning disabilities, Poverty and Low Birthweight. In the countys child abuse, and a host of other disadvantages. high-risk poor neighborhoods, over 10 percent of Of all infants born in Alameda County, all births are low birthweight. Among Black about seven percent are low birthweight. This births, the incidence of low birthweight is even proportion has remained constant over the past higher, over 13 percent in 1985. This represents decade. Among certain subgroups, however, the nearly twice the rate in the county as a whole and proportions of low birthweight babies are much more than twice the rate for whites, Asians and higher. Hispanics. This higher rate of Black low birth- Teen Parents and Low Birthweight. In 1985 in weight contributes greatly to Alameda County·Alameda County, 3.2 percent of all births were to having the highest rate among 38 counties teens 17 or under. Among Black births, 7.2 per- ranked in California. As Table 3-3 shows, the cent were in this age group. There are 13 census incidence of low birthweight among Black births tracts in West and East Oakland combined in in Alameda County has increased since 1980. which over 9.5 percent of all births were to teens. Small infants are not only at greatest risk of (See maps in the Appendix for location of those dying, but, for those infants that live- and the tracts). Teenagers are at great risk of having low majority do - the mental and physical disabilities birthweight babies. In fact, 5 percent of all low that they suffer and the expense of caring for birthweight babies in the county were to teens them takes an immense toll on families and the under 18. community. In addition to the observable dis- Continued on page 34 Table 3-3: Low Birthweight Babies, Alameda County, 1980-1986 - - - Blacks -1- All Births Percentage of all births 14 .-----~----------------------------------------------~ 12t~--------------------------- 10 1- 6 1- 4 r- 2 r- 0 I I I I 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 31