Child Poverty Rate and the Number of Unemployed Parents Rising, New Report Says


It has been a tough ten years for children and families, with the child poverty rate spiking nearly 20 percent and more than one in ten children living with an unemployed parent last year, a report released today found.

Kids Count reports the child poverty rate rose 18 percent between 2000 and 2009 and stood at 20 percent last year. The number of struggling families also rose, as 42 percent of U.S. children lived in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line in 2009, which is a rough definition of working poverty, according to the report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Joblessness is also a growing problem, with 11 percent of kids living with an unemployed parent – the number of children with job-seeking parents doubled since 2007.

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

Other important findings include:

  • Four percent of U.S. children “have been affected by foreclosure since 2007.”
  • Since 2000, the infant mortality rate, child death rate, teen death rate, teen birth rate, and the percent of teens not in school and not high school graduates have declined.

Washington state fared better than most states, ranking 13th in child well being and health, Kids Count reports.

But, the report also found the estimated number of children living with unemployed parents in the state jumped 50 percent between 2007 and 2009. The jobless rate among Washington parents more than doubled to 8.9 percent in 2010 from 4.1 percent in 2007.

Among our state’s 1.6 million children, kids of color are disproportionately likely to be suffering from the persistently poor economy. While 37 percent of Washington kids are living below 200 percent of the poverty level, that number rises dramatically for kids of Native American (55 percent), African American (54 percent) and Hispanic (63 percent) descent. – “2011 Kids Count Data Book Reveals Impact of the Recession on Washington’s Children: Gains of the 1990s Lost in Recession.”Annie E. Casey Family Foundation. 8/17/11.

“Washington state consistently ranks high among its peers because we’ve made smart choices to support public services that improve the outlook for our children’s future,” Paola Maranan, executive director of the Seattle-based Children’s  Alliance, said in a statement. “But we need to make sure that all kids are getting what they need to succeed.”

Check out the entire report here.