When Welfare Leaves Out Fathers

A recent article in the Atlantic cited Kathryn Edin, co-author, with Timothy Nelson, of Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City, on anti-poverty programs’ effects on poor working fathers. The article is one in a series that attempts to discern the shifting place of the father in America.

Following the example of Frandy, an inner-city father who struggles to support his children, the article discusses the complex parenting arrangements that have arisen out of necessity among poor families. Edin points out, “Helping women and not men creates huge gender asymmetry, which makes it harder for couples to stay together. … Men can’t earn enough money to earn a place in the family. They become dispensable.” Read the full article in the Atlantic.

Doing the Best I Can was also featured in a recent New York Times article on the moral condemnation of poor families. Economic Scene reporter Eduardo Porter highlights Edin and Nelson’s contention that low-income men are retreating from their traditional role as breadwinner for their families. Read the full article now.