Schmudget Blog

KIDS COUNT Data Center: Child Poverty and Unemployment

Posted by staceys at Jul 29, 2009 11:30 AM |

WKC_logo_RGB.jpgEditor’s Note: This post is Part Three of a series on the launch of the new KIDS COUNT Data Center in Washington State. The series is written by our colleagues at Washington KIDS COUNT at the University of Washington. The work of KIDS COUNT intersects well with efforts of the Budget & Policy Center to highlight the importance of state investments.

In yesterday’s post, we presented regional data on children living in poverty in Washington State. However, this data does not include the impact of the current economic recession. Typically, unemployment rises when the economy shrinks. Previous economic downturns show that poverty closely tracks unemployment. By analyzing the relationship between unemployment and poverty in the past three recessions, we can estimate where child poverty is headed in Washington State.

The line graph below shows the relationship between unemployment, poverty for all ages, and child poverty over time. Data for total poverty and child poverty are only available for the years shown and the shaded areas indicate periods of recession. During each recession as unemployment has gone up, child poverty has also increased. For example, in the recession starting in 2001 when unemployment surpassed seven percent, child poverty jumped from 11 to 13 percent and an additional 33,000 children entered poverty by 2003.


In our recent State of Washington’s Children report, Poverty and the Future of Children and Families in Washington State, Washington KIDS COUNT used data from the last three recessions to estimate that an additional 37,000 children would enter poverty this year as unemployment reached 9 percent. Since the release of that report, unemployment has continued to climb. We have updated our estimate to predict a total of 60,000 children entering poverty by 2010.

Tomorrow on schmudget we will discuss the importance of education for a child’s future economic security.

Make your own customized line graphs and charts with hundreds of indicators of child and family well-being at the new KIDS COUNT Data Center.

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