Education Funding

Report Finds Child Poverty Rising in the States

By Sean Cavanagh — December 30, 2011 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The “Great Recession” and its aftermath have taken a severe toll on the nation’s children, with poverty rates among young people having increased in each of the last four years and likely to continue to climb in the near term, a recent report shows.

The nation’s child poverty rate rose from 18 percent to 22 percent from 2007 to 2010, according the the report, “The Recession’s Ongoing Impact on America’s Children: Indicators of Children’s Economic Well-Being Through 2011,” released by the Brookings Institution.

During that period the number of poor children surged by 3 million, to 16 million, author Julia B. Isaacs found. Those figures are based on U.S. Census Bureau poverty measures, or the portion of children in families with incomes below the official poverty threshold, which is roughly $17,000 for a family of three and $22,000 for a family of four.

“In addition to humanitarian concerns about the immediate well-being of children, there is disturbing evidence that poverty has negative effects on children’s development, with some effects persisting into adulthood,” the report says. "[T]he lingering negative effects of poverty are strongest when poverty is experienced during early childhood, when poverty lasts for several years of childhood, or both.”

Child poverty varies greatly in the states. Mississippi had the highest poverty rate, at 32.5 percent, followed by the District of Columbia and New Mexico, while New Hamsphire’s rate had the lowest one, at 10 percent.

There have also been significant geographic shifts in child poverty in recent years. Before the recession, child poverty was concentrated mostly in the Southern and Southwestern United States, the report notes. But since the recession it has worsened significantly in a number of Midwestern and Western states.

The severe impact of the economy on children and families is evident in other data, too, the report explains. About 6.5 million children under age 18 were living in families with an unemployed parent during an average month of 2011—a jump from 3.8 million in late 2007, when the recession officially began. However, the number of children with out-of-work parents fell between 2010 and 2011.

The upswing in child poverty is consistent with trends over the past half-century, in that poverty among children and working-age adults has risen and fallen with changes in the overall unemployment rate, according to Brookings. Poverty among the elderly, on the other hand, has declined over the past 50 years, partly as a result of government programs such as Social Security and Supplemental Security Income, the report says.

The bleak financial conditions are striking children and families at a time when resources from the federal and state levels are being squeezed, as Isaacs points out. Federal stimulus funds directed at helping children are evaporating, and many Capitol Hill lawmakers are calling for stanching the money flow from Washington. While state revenues have increased recently, state governments continue to struggle to provide funding for children and families, Brookings says.

The nation’s lingering economic woes, of course, are evident in the classrooms, as well as family households. Many states, as we’ve reported, have made deep cuts to K-12 education during this same period, resulting in layoffs and job losses through attrition, larger class sizes, and reductions in programs and services.

“The economy may have begun its slow recovery,” the report says, “but conditions are not yet improving for children in the most vulnerable families.”

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Reported Essay Are We Asking Schools to Do Too Much?
Schools are increasingly being saddled with new responsibilities. At what point do we decide they are being overwhelmed?
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Education Funding Interactive Look Up How Much COVID Relief Aid Your School District is Getting
The federal government gave schools more than $190 billion to help them recover from the pandemic. But the money was not distributed evenly.
2 min read
Education Funding Explainer Everything You Need to Know About Schools and COVID Relief Funds
How much did your district get in pandemic emergency aid? When must the money be spent? Is there more on the way? EdWeek has the answers.
11 min read
090221 Stimulus Masks AP BS
Dezirae Espinoza wears a face mask while holding a tube of cleaning wipes as she waits to enter Garden Place Elementary School in Denver for the first day of in-class learning since the start of the pandemic.
David Zalubowski/AP
Education Funding Why Dems' $82 Billion Proposal for School Buildings Still Isn't Enough
Two new reports highlight the severe disrepair the nation's school infrastructure is in and the crushing district debt the lack of federal and state investment has caused.
4 min read
Founded 55 years ago, Foust Elementary received its latest update 12-25 years ago for their HVAC units. If the school receives funds from the Guilford County Schools bond allocation, they will expand classrooms from the back of the building.
Community members in Guilford, N.C. last week protested the lack of new funding to improve the district's crumbling school facilities.
Abby Gibbs/News & Record via AP