Obstacles to children developing as mature persons

Edward J. O'Boyle (Mayo Research Institute, West Monroe, Louisiana, USA)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Publication date: 8 May 2009



The purpose of this paper is to focus on obstacles to the development of children into mature, responsible persons whether those children are classified as poor or not.


The paper concentrates on four obstacles: home, health, school, and neighborhood.


Regarding home‐based obstacles, parents with incomes above the poverty line stated that 10.4 million of their children require more time than they anticipated, and 1.3 million children make them angry. As to health obstacles, with few exceptions, American children are generally in good health. Specifically, the general health status of more than 95 percent of all children is reported as excellent, very good, or good. With respect to school‐based obstacles, there are 1.8 to 2.5 million school‐age children who do not like school, are not interested in school, or do not work hard in school. Nonpoor children outnumber poor children by 4:1. Finally, regarding the neighborhoods in which they live, 33.9 million of all children under age 18 agree that there are neighboring people who might be a bad influence and 15 million who agree that children are kept indoors to protect their personal safety. As many as 10.3 million disagree that neighbors help neighbors, people watch other children, there are people one can count on, adults who would help, or safe places to play.


This analysis is based on the dual proposition that in the USA there are large numbers of children – millions in some instances – whose development is not assured and their numbers include many children in families with incomes above the poverty threshold. The data refer to all American children under age 18 and derive entirely from Census Bureau surveys published in 2004 to 2007.



O'Boyle, E. (2009), "Obstacles to children developing as mature persons", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 36 No. 6, pp. 642-651. https://doi.org/10.1108/03068290910956886

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