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New Data Book Spotlights Recession's Impact on California Kids

Aug 17, 2011

Oakland, CA—Data released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Book finds that approximately 3.2 million (34%) California children live in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment.

Over the last decade, economic well-being for low-income children and families has seen a significant decline, according to the Data Book. The official child poverty rate, a conservative measure of economic hardship, has increased 18 percent between 2000 and 2009—an increase of 2.4 million children living below the federal poverty line.

In an ongoing effort to track the impact of the recession, two new indicators were added to this year’s Data Book: the number of children impacted by foreclosure and households with at least one unemployed parent. Nationally, in 2010, 11 percent of children had at least one unemployed parent and 4 percent had been affected by foreclosure since 2007. In California, however, nearly one million (7%) of the state’s children had been impacted by foreclosure since 2007. And in 2010, an estimated 1.2 million (13%) California children were living in households where at least one parent was eligible for, was seeking employment, or both, but remained unemployed at the time the data were collected. 

“The economic downturn has left California children particularly vulnerable,” said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s California KIDS COUNT grantee. “Over the past few years, California children have been the target of the state’s most significant, painful budget cuts, like the recent $3.3 million reduction in vision services for Healthy Families and the $300 million in permanent reductions to early learning and development programs, which will result in the loss of approximately 50,000 child care slots.”

He added: “Children’s health and education should be the last place state leaders look to cut. In tough economic times, families put their children first. Leaders of our state should reflect this core value.”

For interactive California KIDS COUNT data, click here.

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