ACE, Place, Race, and Poverty: Building Hope for Children


Adverse childhood experiences research has focused attention on the importance of family safety, stability, and nurturing in ensuring healthy development. This safety, stability, and nurturing can be compromised by family poverty, discrimination and marginalization, and geographic location. Drawing upon census data, this report shows that place, race, and poverty are intertwined concepts with particular implications for young children. Examining census tracts according to their levels of poverty shows that the poorest census tracts also: 1) are the “richest” in the proportion of young children, 2) have the least realized social, physical, and educational, as well as economic capital, and 3) are highly racially segregated and separated from many sources of economic opportunity. The implications are that the country’s poorest neighborhoods require substantially more supports for young children but currently have many fewer. This includes individual services to young children and their families but also publicly available services and voluntary supports, such as parks, playgrounds, and libraries. These data suggest that improving child health trajectories and reducing health disparities according to race and socioeconomic status therefore will require concerted individual service as well as community-building efforts directed to poor and usually racially segregated neighborhoods and communities.

For more information about this article, or the September-October 2017 Issue of Academic Pediatrics, please click here