The Recession May Be Over, But More Kids Are Hungry

Feb 05, 2015 at 1:22 PM ET

When we talk about the fallout from the 2008 recession, the discussion typically focuses on chronically unemployed parents or debt-ridden college graduates. What we don’t often hear about are the young children who have suffered as their parents came up against hard times. And even though the recession has technically come to an end, it continues to adversely impact several areas of children’s lives, according to a study by First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, and PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The researchers looked at four key areas of child well-being—health, hunger, housing, and abuse and neglect—and found that while some federal programs, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program, helped to mitigate the recession’s effects, children continue to face many challenges. Here are a few of the key findings provided by the report:


  •  The Affordable Care Act has provided more adults with insurance, but has had little effect on children.


  • The share of children living in homes affected by food insecurity increased during the recession and remains high—rising from about 17 percent in 2007 to 21.4 percent in 2013.


  • There are now a record 1.3 million homeless children in the United States— and another 6 million children risk loosing their homes.

Abuse and Neglect

  • Of the total cases of child maltreatment in United States, neglect (a parent’s inability to meet their child’s basic needs) rose from just below 60 percent these of cases in 2007 to nearly 80 percent in 2012.

“Economists say the recession is over, but five years later, it’s still impacting millions of children,” First Focus President Bruce Lesley wrote in press release about the report. “The question for Congress is this: what are you going to do about it?”