The latest Kids Count Data Book report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that American children are worse off than before the recession and calls into question fanfare around the country’s economic turnaround.
According to a new report, 19.1 million American children were struggling with poverty in 2013, despite a “recovered” economy; that’s up from 13.2 million kids in poverty in 2008. It’s time to ask some tough questions of this President who has touted his policies as the reason for the economic recovery.
The numbers are troubling:
· Twenty-two percent of American kids were living in poverty in 2013 compared with 18 percent in 2008 before the recession began.
· About 1.7 million more children live in low-income working families today than during the Great Recession. In 2013, one in four children, 18.7 million, lived in a low-income working family in the United States.
· In 2013, nearly a third of children (31 percent) were living in families where no parent had full-time, year-round employment.
In addition, poverty rates are nearly double among black and American Indian children. Also, poverty is most severe in the South and Southwest.
Some of the contributing factors to these problems: more children living in single-parent homes and fewer kids living with parents with secure employment. This all works together to create a desperate situation and a desperate future for too many little ones. Furthermore, low family income, low levels of parental education and inadequate housing in a high-poverty neighborhood are associated with diminished prospects later in life.
Solutions highlighted by the report focus in creating independence and stability for their parents: Provide parents with multiple pathways to get family-supporting jobs and achieve financial stability; ensure access to high-quality early childhood education and enriching elementary school experiences; and equip parents to better support their children socially and emotionally and to advocate for their kids' education.
CNBC reports on solutions:
[Foundation President Patrick] McCarthy likened child poverty to a "particularly pernicious form of cancer," and he prescribed a cocktail of economic policies and fixes to tackle it.
Tax credits and additional support such as food stamps could give low-income families a much-needed boost, and job training could provide help for struggling to get an economic foothold. Businesses should implement more family-friendly policies, and a massive infrastructure repair campaign could create countless jobs.
"None of them is a magic bullet. When you put them all together, you start to put the children on a path to success," he said.
States in the South and Southwest continued a steady run at the bottom of the Kids Count rankings for overall child well-being, with issues including economic standing and education.
McCarthy said there's not much to make of one state usurping another for a top spot. Instead, he focused on the broader regional patterns: New England and Midwestern states generally occupy the top 10 while the South and Southwest struggle in the bottom rankings.
Each month we report on the unemployment rate and the number of jobs added or lost in the economy. These are not just numbers. These are real people and real families struggling to meet their basic needs of shelter, food, clothing, and warmth. Reports like this remind us that just because the reported unemployment rate –which usually doesn’t count those who have dropped out of the job market – ticks down, it doesn’t mean that life is any better for millions of Americans. That almost three million more kids are in poverty remind us that this economy is not the boom that President Obama would like us to believe.
Despite his verbal advocacy for the poor, President Obama's policies have made things worse. A president can't magically create jobs–businesses and individuals do that. But a president can ensure that his policies don't stand in the way of job creation. From environmental regulations to ObamaCare, his signature programs, President Obama's policies have provided weak solutions while exacerbating the problems.
Why not focus on fostering an economic environment where entrepreneurship and business can flourish which stimulates economic activity and drives job creation? As we add more jobs and the unemployed get back to work, it should push wages higher to attract talent. That means more moms and dads can find and keep work and little ones can grow in stable homes. There's more to the equation as well but it's a start.