African American mothers and grandmothers in poverty: An adaptational perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Dramatic changes in household and family formation patterns among low- income African American families have revived interest in the relationship between family life and poverty. Identifying these changes, the demographic perspective has quantitatively documented increases in female headship and non-marital childbearing, and decreases in marriage among African Americans. Comparative data from two generations of women in poverty (mothers and grandmothers) are presented to expand on the demographic perspective. Using an adaptational perspective, qualitative data are used to describe the meanings and social processes that are embedded in demographic profiles. The inclusion of both demographic and adaptational frameworks in the poverty research agenda suggests a broader and more accurate understanding of African American families in poverty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-396+iv-v
JournalJournal of Comparative Family Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1998


  • mothers
  • grandmothers
  • poverty
  • African Americans
  • demography
  • children
  • daughters
  • focus groups
  • family relations
  • households

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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