State officials, early childcare providers, and child advocates are celebrating the youngest community members this week in honor of the annual Week of the Young Child. Amidst our celebration of these young children who are under 6 years old, let’s review the latest available data on their economic state.
According to the United States Bureau of the Census, more children are being pushed into poverty year after year due to the economic downturn. Data show that the persistently high unemployment rate affects not only those who have lost or are without jobs but also their family members, including their children.
28.8 percent of North Carolina’s young children lived in poverty in 2010, which was defined as $22,314 for a family of four at the time. This poverty rate is 3.9 percentage points above the rate for the average child (ages 17 and under) who is poor and 11.3 percentage points above the rate for the average North Carolinian (all ages) who is poor. Children of color face even higher rates of poverty. Read More…
Economic security throughout the life course is linked to income and asset ownership. Households that are poor or low-income have a hard time building assets and, as a result, face a significant barrier to long-term financial stability. According to a recent report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), asset poverty is on the rise in North Carolina.
More than 1 in 4 households in the state are “asset poor,” meaning they do not have adequate resources to keep them out of poverty for three months in case of a layoff, a reduction in hourly wages, or an emergency. Nearly 1 in 2 households are “liquid asset poor,” meaning they do not have immediate access to savings. Even more unsettling, the share of asset-poor households is much higher for households of color.
Asset poverty is distinct from the traditional federal poverty threshold—which was $22,314 for a family of four in 2010—as it measures a household’s financial vulnerability as well as the ability to access opportunities requiring significant upfront investments
What qualifies as an asset or a liquid asset? If you listened to Fergus Hodgson, the Director of Fiscal Studies at the John Locke Foundation, on Carolina Journal Radio (audio is included below), you may believe that household appliances are assets.
Well above the state poverty rate of 17.5 percent, an astounding 1 in 4 of North Carolina’s children live in poverty. Beyond the significance for a child living in a household with too few dollars to meet the most basic needs (to be poor a family of four must have an annual income below $23,314 in 2010), there are longer term implications of a childhood of hardship. Research shows that childhood poverty for the youngest children is literally built into the architecture of their developing brains with implications for their chances at educational success and attachment to the labor force. All of these play out negatively for children who are poor well into their adult years.
But what about children who are poor and live in distressed communities? Research shows they face compounding barriers to long-term economic security due to often having less access to quality educational opportunities and strong social networks. A report released by the Budget and Tax Center last Thursday found that 10.4 percent of North Carolina’s impoverished children lived in one of the state’s 100 concentrated-poverty neighborhoods—which are neighborhoods with a poverty rate of 40 percent or higher—in 2006-2010. This rate was slightly higher than the state’s concentrated-poverty rate of 10.2 percent. Read More…
A North Carolina Budget and Tax Center (BTC) brief released last week showed that families in North Carolina are severely feeling the effects of the flagging economy. African American and Latino families in the state, however, have been particularly hard hit.
While the poverty rate for the state increased significantly to 17.5 percent in 2010, the poverty rate for African American North Carolinians was more than ten percentage points higher than the state figure and the rate for Hispanic or Latino North Carolinians stood at 33.9 percent. That translates to 1 in 4 African Americans and 1 in 3 Latinos in the state who are living under the federal poverty level.