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5 Ways American Children Are Worse Off Today Than A Decade Ago

By Marina Fang, Guest Contributor on July 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

"5 Ways American Children Are Worse Off Today Than A Decade Ago"

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American children have seen big declines over the past decade when it comes to poverty and other economic factors, according to a wide-ranging report released Friday. The report was compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a consortium of 22 federal agencies that collects data on children and families.

Here are five ways American children have fallen behind in the last decade:

1. Child poverty is on the rise. Twenty-two percent of American children lived in low-income households in 2011, up from 16 percent in 2001.

2. Child poverty among blacks and Hispanics is particularly pronounced. Nearly 30 percent of black children lived below the poverty line in 2001, which increased to 38.8 percent inn 2011. For Hispanic children, this number spiked from 28.6 to 34.1 percent during the same period.

3. More children live in food insecure households. Over 22 percent of children are part of families that cannot provide adequate food due to “insufficient money and other resources for food.” This is up from 17.6 percent in 2001.

4. Children are increasingly living in housing that is inadequate, crowded, or carries a high financial burden for their parents. Households with any of these problems increased from 36.1 percent in 2001 to 46.4 percent in 2011. Housing has also gotten more expensive: 40.7 percent of households in 2011 reported that what they spent on housing was greater than 30 percent of their household income, up from 28.5 percent in 2001. The report noted that these housing problems can have a ripple effect on children’s lives, both physically and psychologically.

5. Two-parent households where each parent had full-time year-round employment are less common. While 32 percent of children lived with two fully employed parents in 2001, that number slid to 29 percent in 2011.

But not all the news is grim, as the report included some encouraging signs. Violent crime involving young people is down. In 2001, there were 19.3 serious violent crimes committed by young people per 1,000 between the ages of 12 to 17, down to 6.3 in 2011. Young people were also less likely to be victimized by violent crime in 2011 than a decade prior, with 8.5 out of every 1,000 12- to 17-year-olds victimized in 2011 compared to 15.7 per 1,000 in 2001. More children are getting key immunizations: 65.6 percent of children were immunized in 2002, but by 2011, that figure was 77.6 percent. Teenagers are having fewer babies, as there were 45 live births per 1,000 women ages 15-19 in 2001, which dropped to 31.3 in 2011. And more children are completing high school– the percentage of people ages 18-24 who have completed high school increased from 86.5 percent to 90.8 percent — and college enrollment is more common than a decade ago.

Marina Fang is an intern for ThinkProgress.

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