Report: 1 in 7 Children Living With Unemployed Parent

Jan 14, 2010, 11:50 ET from First Focus Campaign for Children

Recession leaves 10.5 million children with parent out of work

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One in seven American children are living with an unemployed parent as a result of the current recession, according to a new report released today. Totaling 10.5 million kids under the age of 18, the report provides the alarming revelation that children are almost twice as likely to be affected by unemployment than adults. Young people with an unemployed parent have a greater chance of experiencing homelessness, suffering from child abuse, failing to complete high school or college, and living in adult poverty than other children.

The report, issued today by the First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children's advocacy organization, combined the monthly unemployment statistics with data on the family status of unemployed men and women from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey. The analysis conducted by Phillip Lovell and Julia Isaacs, First Focus Fellow and scholar at the Brookings Institution, also finds that another 3.3 million young people – those seeking jobs between the ages of 16 and 24 - are themselves unemployed.

"We can't afford a lost generation. Right now, millions of children are living in families torn apart by the recession. These young people may find themselves poor, even homeless as a result," said Bruce Lesley, president of the First Focus Campaign for Children. "This economic collapse has doubled the number of children with an unemployed parent.  Congress must address the impact of today's unemployment rate on our nation's children by enacting jobs bill that puts parents to work and supports our children. It's time we put Americans back to work, not just for the workers of today but for the workers of tomorrow.  There's no better cure for poverty than a good job, and that's the best investment we can make today in our people and our future."

Entitled Families of the Recession: Unemployed Parents & Their Children, the report also finds the following:

  • The recession has nearly doubled the number of children with an unemployed parent, with the number rising from 5.5 to 10.5 million kids since December 2007.
  • Almost half of unemployed women and one-third of unemployed men are parents.
  • Children are disproportionately impacted by unemployment. 14 percent of children have an unemployed parent. This percentage is double that of working-aged adults, 7.4 percent of whom age 18 to 64 were unemployed in December 2009.
  • The youth unemployment rate of summer 2009 was the highest on record. Data was first collected in summer, 1948.

The report is available at:

The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children's advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions.

SOURCE First Focus Campaign for Children