One of the most important public policy issues in the United States is how to improve the life prospects of disadvantaged youth who, in their formative years, face low-quality school systems, poor access to health care, and high-crime environments. This book includes a broad range of research examining various aspects of disadvantage, and ways of increasing the ability of low-income youth to improve their circumstances later in life. Taking an empirical economics perspective, its nine chapters assess the causal impacts of disadvantage on youth outcomes, and how policy interventions can alleviate those impacts. Each chapter develops a framework to describe the relationship between youth and later life outcomes, addressing such factors as educational opportunity, health, neighborhood crime rates, and employment. The book documents the serious short- and long-term negative consequences of childhood disadvantage and provides nuanced evidence of the impact of public policy designed to help needy children.