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Birth to Thrive blog: U.S. Families Lost All Economic Gains of the Last 35 Years: New Report

This recent post from the Birth to Thrive blog offers a sobering assessment of impact of the Great Recession on Families. You can read more about children, families and early learning at Birth to Thrive online.

Families lost a lot of ground during The Great Recession - the economic downturn wiped out all of their economic gains of the last 35 years - and they will likely fall further behind in the coming years, a new report says.

A big part of the decline in fortune of U.S. families was tied to the increase in the number of children living in poverty, which was 21.5 percent last year, according to the 2011 Child Well-Being Index released by the Foundation for Child Development today. Not only are more children living in poverty, but little progress is being made expanding health insurance coverage for children.

Overall, the index reports the nation's children and families didn't fully share in the economic growth of the last three decades.

Although the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has risen 168 percent since 1975, American children's quality of life has risen a mere 3 percent… -- "Children Bearing the Brunt of America's Widening Income Gap." Media summary, 12/15/11. Families have lost all economic gains they've made since 1975, and are likely to continue losing ground.

Given that spending from the 2008 economic stimulus package is ending, children's well being could get even worse.

Children are the poorest of all age groups in the U.S. Yet their share of the federal budget investments is projected to drop from 11 percent in 2010 to 8 percent in 2020. This means likely cuts to education and public health insurance – all programs that disproportionately affect children. -- Media summary.

Every year, The Foundation for Child Development releases its Child Well-Being Index, which is a composite of 28 indicators reflecting family economic well-being, safe/risky behavior, social relationships, emotional/spiritual well-being, community engagement, educational attainment, and health.

Read the full report here.

Birth to Thrive online is Thrive by Five’s blog covering news, research, ideas and breakthroughs in early learning. Read more of the blog at http://birthtothrive.thrivebyfivewa.org/. 

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