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Title: Differences that count : effects of household poverty on children in rural Mexico
Author: Valadez Martinez, Laura Josefina
ISNI:       0000 0004 2732 6553
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Early childhood has been identified as a crucial period in human life. It is during the first five years when vital physiological, cognitive, motor, and emotional developmental processes take place. Consequently, when resources are limited, it could seem more difficult to ensure the adequate development of children. Research has indicated that poverty suffered during childhood has been found to be associated with negative and long-lasting consequences for people. Nevertheless, there is inconclusive evidence on whether depth, timing, and changes in household poverty are associated with indicators of well-being at pre-school age. This thesis aims to contribute in these topics. This thesis explores the effects of poverty on children in Mexico. In that country, more than 50% of children aged 0-5 years live in poverty. Childhood poverty is especially evident in rural areas and amongst indigenous groups. Using a quantitative methodology, this thesis explores whether (a) deeper levels of poverty, (b) poverty suffered at various moments in the child's life, and (c) changes in household poverty, are associated with developmental indicators. The study includes around 2,000 children born and raised in poor rural communities in Mexico. The examination is conducted with Structural Equation Modelling. Child well-being is measured by indicators of physical health, cognitive ability, motor co-ordination, and emotional competence at age 4-6 years. Poverty is measured by household income, durables, quality of housing, and agricultural and non-agricultural means throughout the child's life. Results indicate that deeper levels of household poverty are associated with worse indicators of physical, cognitive, and motor co-ordination. Also, poverty suffered at around birth and around 18 months of age is associated with cognitive outcomes at age 4-6 years. Furthermore, improvements over time in household income are generally associated with better child outcomes. Conversely, declines in household income are associated with worse developmental indicators. Finally, household composition, maternal education, and ethnicity proved to be significant explanatory factors of child well-being at pre-school age.
Supervisor: Walker, Robert ; Tomlinson, Mark Sponsor: CONACYT (Mexico National Council for Science and Technology)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social policy & social work ; Social disadvantage ; Poverty ; Ethnic minorities and ethnicity ; Families, children and childcare ; Social Sciences