Economic recession worsened child poverty rate in America

A new report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation says nearly half of American children are now living with low-income families as a result of the recent recession.

In 2009, about 42 percent (or more than 31 million) of American children with households that earned less than twice the federal poverty line, calculated at $43,512 per year for a family of four, according to the foundation’s annual “Kids Count Data Book.”

“The recent recession has wiped out many of the economic gains for children that occurred in the late 1990s,” said Laura Speer, the foundation’s associate director for Policy Reform and Data.

The report’s major findings include:

  • The federal child poverty rate grew 18 percent between 2000 and 2009, which means an additional 2.4 million children are living below the federal poverty line, which is set at $22,350/year for a family of four.
  • In 2010, nearly 8 million American children had at least one unemployed parent.
  • More than 5.3 million American children had been impacted by foreclosure since 2007.

“The research and data tell us that children who grow up in low-income families are less likely to successfully navigate life’s challenges and achieve future success,” said Patrick T. McCarthy, president and CEO of the Casey Foundation. “To decrease the numbers of children who are at risk for bad outcomes as a consequence of economic hardship, we must invest in strategies that can help children reach their full potential.”

Some of the strategies proposed by the Casey Foundation include extending unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed beyond 2011, enacting mandatory foreclosure mediations at the state level, preserving the Earned Income Tax Credit, and expanding access to affordable child care for low-and-moderate-income families.


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