Over Easy : Children living in poverty increased after Great Recession’s ‘economic turnaround’

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2015 Kid’s Count Data Book, twenty-two percent of American children were living in poverty in 2013, compared to eighteen percent in 2008. According to the news release, 1.7 million more children live in low-income working families today than in the midst of the Great Recession.

The Casey Foundation report finds that the rising tide of recovery, with both increased employment and more concentrated wealth, has left stagnant pockets of low-income, struggling communities and families, where a child’s future is anchored in scarcity and hardship.

“Although we are several years past the end of the recession, millions of families still have not benefited from the economic recovery,” said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Casey Foundation. “While we’ve seen an increase in employment in recent years, many of these jobs are low-wage and cannot support even basic family expenses. Far too many families are still struggling to provide for the day-to-day needs of their children, notably for the16 million kids who are living in poverty. We can and must do better: we can make policy choices to lift more families into economic stability.”

The report gives each state an overall ranking based on data collected across four dimensions: economic well-being, education rank, health rank and family and community rank. State rankings are listed in a chart.

The report highlights the following:

-While three New England states rank within the top five for overall well-being among the 50 states, the top five states in the area of economic well-being are in the heartland and Plain States regions — North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.

-The biggest improvements in overall rankings compared to last year’s Data Book are seen in Alaska, Minnesota, Wyoming, South Carolina and Missouri. The biggest drops in overall rankings are seen in West Virginia, Indiana, Rhode Island, Virginia, Arkansas and Vermont.

-Southeast, Southwest and Appalachian states have the lowest income and are at the bottom of the overall rankings. With the exception of California, the 15 lowest-ranked states were in these regions.

One in five children live in poverty today, despite ‘welfare reform,’ ie. despite being “several years into economic recovery.”

-Since 2008, the number of children living in poverty has risen by almost 3 million, from 13.2 million to 16.1 million today.

-At a rate of 22% in 2013, the rate of child poverty is still several percentage points higher than before the recession, when it was 18%.

The report also comments on high-poverty communities:

-Today, one in seven children — 14% — live in high-poverty communities.

-More than two million more children live in areas of concentrated poverty today than in 2006-2010.

As the video news report (above) notes, New Mexico ranks forty-ninth overall.

Meanwhile, House 2016 Bill deepens domestic cuts.

In defending this and other recent appropriations bills, committee Republicans have said that the legislation reflects difficult but necessary choices. This Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill does indeed reflect a series of choices, but those choices are neither necessary nor beneficial.

Image by Budget and Policy Priorities.