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Report: NC’s child poverty rate among nation’s highest

Report: NC’s child poverty rate among nation’s highest
December 22
00:00 2012

According to a new report, the recession is continuing to take a heavy toll on children and families in North Carolina.

[pullquote]This report shows that North Carolina’s children continue to suffer from the recession, and sustained investments are needed to help reduce the negative impacts of a challenging economy on our children and families[/pullquote]“The Recession’s Ongoing Impact on Children, 2012: Indicators of Children’s Economic Well-Being,” commissioned by the bipartisan national child advocacy group First Focus, uses unemployment, nutrition assistance and lagged poverty data to forecast child poverty rates in 2012. The report predicts the national child poverty rate will likely remain at a high 22.5 percent, meaning that more than one in every five children in the country lives in poverty.

In North Carolina, the child poverty rate is expected to remain among the highest in the country at 26 percent.

“This report shows that North Carolina’s children continue to suffer from the recession, and sustained investments are needed to help reduce the negative impacts of a challenging economy on our children and families,” said Deborah Bryan, president and CEO of Action for Children North Carolina, a leading statewide child advocacy group. “Investments like tax credits for working families, Medicaid and other public health insurance programs for children are essential to help protect the well-being of our children and youth in times of need.”

The report also examines the number of food aid recipients and parental employment. In North Carolina:

• An estimated one in 10 children lived with an unemployed parent in 2012, more than twice the rate at the start of the recession (four percent in 2007).

• An estimated 118,000 children lived with parents who were unemployed for six months or more in 2012, up from 23,000 in 2007.

• The number of SNAP recipients nearly doubled in 2012 (1,157–a 90 percent increase since 2007).

Action for Children North Carolina says that these figures are important because a child’s current and future health and well-being are shaped by his or her economic security early in life. Bouts of parental unemployment and poverty can create both immediate and long-lasting damages that can harm a child’s growth and development and lead to psychological stress, poorer academic performance and even increased incidences of abuse and neglect, according to the agency.

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