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Politics

Low-Income Parents Worry More About Student Harm

Politics

Low-Income Parents Worry More About Student Harm

Story Highlights

  • Income a major factor in parental worries about physical harm at school
  • Education, gender, race and ethnicity also related to level of concern
  • Overall levels of concern have varied little over past decade

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Low-income parents in the United States are more than twice as likely (32%) as high-income parents (14%) to worry frequently that their children will be physically harmed at school. Parental concern also differs significantly by race, ethnicity, education and gender.

Parental Worries About a Child Being Harmed at School, by Subgroups
"How often do you, yourself, worry about having a school-aged child physically harmed attending school -- frequently, occasionally, rarely or never?"
Frequently Occasionally Rarely/Never
% % %
All parents with children under the age of 18 22 27 50
Annual household income
Less than $30,000 32 21 45
$30,000-$74,999 27 26 47
$75,000 and above 14 30 56
Education
College degree 13 31 56
No college degree 28 24 48
Gender
Men 17 25 57
Women 27 29 44
Age
18-34 27 26 46
35-54 20 27 53
Race/Ethnicity
Non-Hispanic white 18 29 53
Non-Hispanic black 37 19 44
Hispanic 29 23 48
Gallup polls from 2009-2018, asked of parents of children under the age of 18
GALLUP

Gallup has asked parents of children under the age of 18 nine times in the last decade, "How often do you, yourself worry about having a school-aged child physically harmed attending school?" Combining the results for the 10-year period highlights the significant differences within American society.

In addition to the wide gap between low-income and high-income parents, the percentage of blacks who frequently worry (37%) is almost 20 percentage points higher than among whites (18%), and parents without a college degree are more than twice as likely to worry frequently (28%) as parents with a degree (12%).

Parents' worry about their children being physically harmed at school is one of 13 crime fears measured in Gallup's annual crime survey. For parents of children under the age of 18, the percentage frequently worrying about their child being physically harmed at school is higher than for all other crimes listed except identity theft and having personal, credit card or financial information stolen.

Low-income parents are almost as likely to worry about their children being harmed at school as they are about identity theft and theft of financial or personal information, while high-income parents show a much larger gap between concerns about school violence and concerns about the white-collar crimes of identity theft and theft of information. For more affluent parents, worries about children being hurt at school fall into the same lower-priority category as property crimes such as burglary and car theft, which are much more of a concern among lower-income parents.

Worry About Crimes in High-Income and Low-Income Households
Percentage who worry frequently about each of the following things
Annual household income
% Less than $30,000 % $75,000 and above
Child physically harmed at school 32 14
Credit card or financial information stolen 38 44
Identity theft 34 34
Burglary of home while not there 31 11
Car stolen or broken into 24 12
Gallup polls from 2009-2018, asked of parents of children under the age of 18
GALLUP

Bottom Line

Much attention has been paid to mass shootings at American schools in recent years, with the Parkland, Florida, shooting in February sparking gun-control campaigns that stayed in the news for several months. But while those shootings, which mostly happened at middle-class suburban and small-town locations, grabbed the headlines, the highest level of concern among parents over the past decade about their children being harmed at school can be found at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale.

Among those lower-income and less-educated parents, fears for their children's physical safety may be less related to the isolated instances of mass shootings than to everyday bullying and assaults. As policymakers wrestle with the problems of how to protect all schools from deadly attacks, their priorities should also include the daily safety of students in predominantly low-income schools, whose parents may not have the financial and political resources needed to mount an effective campaign for their children's physical well-being at school.

Gallup

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Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/244712/low-income-parents-worry-student-harm.aspx
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