Young children and unemployment

We know that children are disproportionally impacted by unemployment and underemployment. EPI has already looked at the total number of children who live in families with at least one unemployed or underemployed parent ( see this snapshot, or this paper).

Given the importance of early childhood development, we should be very concerned with the well-being of young children and how they are impacted by parental unemployment. Having an unemployed parent increases the risk for disruptions in nutrition, housing, and education–all of which are important for brain development specifically and a child’s future more generally.

The figure below shows the percentage of children living in a family with at least one unemployed parent, with a further breakdown of the share of children aged from 0 to 5. The chart shows 2010 (the most recent data available) compared with pre-recession levels in 2007, and also a breakdown by race.

The data shows that kids overall are more likely to be impacted by unemployment, and that children 5 and under are even more at risk. In 2010,  7.5 million children (10.6 percent of all children) lived in a family with at least one unemployed parent. Of those, 2.8 million (11.4 percent of all similarly aged children) were children 5 years old and younger. This is about twice as many children at this age who lived in a family with at least one unemployed parent in 2007, prior to the recession. About 1.2 million of these children 5 and under live in single-parent families where their parent is unemployed.

The impact also varies by race and ethnic status, with children between the ages of 0-5 in black families facing unemployment at twice the rate (18.5 percent of all similarly aged children) as white families (9.1 percent); and Hispanic families (13 percent) are also above the national average.

It’s important to note that these are not families that simply choose to have one parent remain at home, but rather families in which one or both parents want to work, but are unable to find a job.

With children overall, and especially younger kids, being hit hard by unemployment, spurring job creation is not just good policy in the short-run, but is essential for our nation’s long-run economic health.


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001659804773 Martha A Bookreader

    The Grand Bargain of the Democrats and the “cutting the entitlement rhetoric” , and “creation of jobs orthodoxy” of the Republicans are all “backlash rhetoric” by both the Republicans and Democrats that is a denial of their orthodox, duopolistic complicity that is a denial of their own complicit responsibility in the self serving Government Sponsored Enterprises Scam of the “Home Owner’s Society” Financialization Scam that led to the September 18, 2008 Collapse of the U.S. Economy and infected the world with toxic capital that continues to have systemic toxicity that endangers world wide liquidity of the world wide banking system.

    It is ludicrous to consider that cutting entitlement to safety net programs for the American Populace, creating jobs in the U.S. Economy without manufacturing capacity in the U.S. Economy commensurate to job productions in favor of the current Consumer Economy that is dependent upon Financialization Transactions of a FALSE ECONOMY, rather than actual transactions of a REAL ECONOMY, will have any positive effect at all to resolve the “toxic liquidity problem” in the U.S. Economy and the World Economy, and Grand Bargains between the complicity Republicans and Democrats that created the problem with their Government Sponsored Enterprises, GSE, Financialization SCAMS in pursuit of self interest in the name of a “Home Owner’s Society” will not change the reality of the “toxic liquidity problem” in the United States and World Economies, that is the problem that is toxic to the growth and development of both the United States and World Economies.

    Ambition, greed, and corruption of both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party together with their combined party members as enablers, and corporate and commercial interests that benefitted, employed a “Government Sponsored Enterprises” Financialization SCAM in pursuit of their own greedy, self serving interests, and that Financialization SCAM resulted in Economic Armageddon for both the U.S. Economy and the World Economy; the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are NOT THE SOLUTION to the problem they enabled —- The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are part of the problem, and it is highly unlikely that either, together or separately, that either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party will acknowledge their complicity in the problem and willingly be a part of the solution.