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Abstract

This article examines the problem of poverty in New England during the current period of economic prosperity. Major trends in the size and composition of the poor population within the region are analyzed. Striking changes in the relative incidence of poverty have occurred among families in New England. As the economy has moved toward full employment, poverty rates among husband-wife families in the region have fallen sharply. In contrast, female-headed families in New England have not benefited substantially from recent rapid increases in employment opportunities. The result has been a persistent trend toward the feminization of poverty in New England. The bulk of poor female family heads are of working age and could potentially be brought into the region's work force. However, education and training services that can successfully attack fundamental barriers to labor force participation must be delivered to these women. Programs designed to overcome low levels of educational attainment and deficient basic skills must be combined with child care and other social services in order to further reduce overall poverty rates across the New England region.

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