When workers lose their jobs, their children suffer. The steep rise in unemployment since 2007 has served to double the share of children with at least one unemployed parent, from 5% in 2007 to 10.3% in 2009. The total number of children with an unemployed parent rose from 3.5 million in 2007 to 7.2 million in 2009. Over the same period, the portion of children with at least one underemployed parent – who is not finding the amount of work he or she wants or needs –has also nearly doubled, from 9.1% to 18.1%. The nationwide unemployment rate rose from 4.6% in 2007 to 9.3% in 2009.
These data are particularly relevant this week, as the U.S. Census Bureau reports new data on poverty for 2009, which is expected to show a large increase over already high 2008 levels. Last year’s report showed a child poverty rate of 19% in 2008, with children comprising more than a third of all the people living in poverty in the United States.