The number of children living with unemployed parents continued to remain high even as the nation moved out of a recession and the number of students graduating on time increased significantly, according to data revealed today in the 2013 version of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Book.
Thirty-two percent of children lived in households where no parent had full-time, year-round employment in 2011, compared with only 27 percent of children. The number did trend downward from a recent high of 33 percent in 2010.
Nearly half of African-American youth lived with parents that lacked secure employment.
Meanwhile, efforts to turn around schools with unreasonably high rates of dropouts may be paying off. Seventy-eight percent of teens graduated on time in the 2009-2010 school year according to the Kids Count report, which is up from 73 percent of students in 2005-2006.
The KIDS COUNT index, now in its 24th year, gauges progress on key aspects of youth safety and development using recent national and state data. It includes 16 child-level indicators across four domains: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community.
The national data worsened or did not change on six of those indicators, including all four of the indicators in the “Economic Well-Being” category: children living in poverty; children with unemployed parents; children living in households with high housing cost burdens; and teens who are not in school and are not working.
The data improved on all eight indicators related to Health and Education, and worsened for two Family and Community indicators: children living in high-poverty areas and children in single-parent households.
“As we celebrate long-term gains in Health and Education, we must find effective ways to halt — and reverse — the widening disparities among children’s access to economic resources and ensure that they grow up in strong, stable families and communities,” said Casey CEO Patrick McCarthy, in a foreword to the 2013 report.
The teen birth rate declined from 40 per 1,000 in 2005 to 34 per 1,000, and the child/teen death rate dropped from 32 per 100,000 to 26 per 100,000.
Oklahoma jumped from 40th to 36th on the index’s composite rank, and Georgia fell from 37 to 43. The top three states (New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts) remained the same, as did the bottom three (Nevada, Mississippi and New Mexico).
–John Kelly is the editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change