Category: Vulnerable Families Research Program

Resource Category Topic Type
Child Care Costs Exceed 10 Percent of Family Income for One in Four Families
Access to quality, affordable child care is critical for American working families, and it is a major focus of efforts to bring about more family-friendly workplaces. In this brief, we analyze families’ child care expenses and identify, among families with young children (under age 6) who pay for child care, the share that are “cost burdened,” defined here as spending more than 10 percent of their gross income on child care. Using data from the 2012–2016 Current Population Survey, we present our findings by number of children; age of youngest child; parental characteristics; family income measures; and U.S. region, metropolitan status, and state. Unless otherwise noted, families include only those with children under age 6 who had any child care costs in the previous year.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Community Development Finance, Family Publication
Child Care Expenses Make Middle-Class Incomes Hard to Reach
Most Americans believe that through hard work and saving they can secure an economically sound, middle-class lifestyle.1 But for many working families, the high price of child care makes this goal extremely challenging.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Family Publication
Child Care Expenses Push Many Families Into Poverty
How often are low-income families pushed into poverty by their child care expenses? In this fact sheet, we use the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to assess the extent to which child care expenses are pushing families with young children into poverty. Nearly one-third (30.4 percent) of families with young children are poor. To fall under the SPM poverty line means that a family’s income would be less than $26,000 a year on average, with variations by family composition and geographic location. Among poor families with young children, 12.3 percent incur child care expenses according to our analyses of the SPM. For families earning this little income, child care expense can be a burden. Of those who pay for child care, nearly one in ten (9.4 percent) are poor (Figure 1). Roughly one third of these poor families are pushed into poverty by child care expenses. This represents an estimated 207,000 families.1 Among families with young children who pay for child care, those with three or more children, those headed by a single parent, those with black or Hispanic household heads, and those headed by someone with less than a high school degree or by someone who does not work full time are most often pushed into poverty by child care expenses. Notably, these are also the families that tend to have the highest rates of poverty.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Poverty Publication
Child Care Subsidies Critical for Low-Income Families Amid Rising Child Care Expenses
The high cost of child care is a barrier to employment among low-income families with young children. Child care subsidies are designed to support both parental employment and child development by lowering the cost of child care and making high-quality child care affordable to low-income families.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Poverty Publication
Child Poverty High in Rural America
On August 28, 2007, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey show that 22 percent of rural children are living in poverty, up from 19 percent in 2000. On average, rates are highest in the nonmetropolitan South (27 percent) and have climbed the most in the nonmetropolitan Midwest (by 3.9 percentage points).
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural Publication
Child Poverty Higher and More Persistent in Rural America
The negative consequences of growing up in a poor family are well known. Poor children are less likely to have timely immunizations, have lower academic achievement, are generally less engaged in school activities, and face higher delinquency rates in adolescent years.1 Each of these has adverse impacts on their health, earnings, and family status in adulthood. Less understood is how the experience of poverty can differ depending on the community context. Being poor in a relatively well-off community with good infrastructure and schools is different from being poor in a place where poverty rates have been high for generations, where economic investment in schools and infrastructure is negligible, and where pathways to success are few.2 The hurdles are even higher in rural areas, where low population density, physical isolation, and the broad spatial distribution of the poor make service delivery and exposure to innovative programs more challenging. This brief looks at both the incidence of high child poverty (20 percent or greater) over the past three decades and at the places where such high child poverty has persisted for all of those decades (see Box 1 for definitions of high and persistent child poverty). Our analysis documents both that the incidence of high child poverty is growing nationwide and that rural America includes a disproportionate share of children living in counties characterized as having persistent high child poverty.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural Publication
Child Poverty in Rural America: New Data Shows Increases in 41 States
A study by the Carsey Institute, based on U.S. Census Bureau data, found that in forty-one states, a higher percentage of rural children live in poverty than did in 2000. While the national poverty level in 2006 was relatively stagnant compared to 2005's poverty level, the situation is clearly becoming worse for rural kids.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Low Income, Poverty, Rural Publication
Child Protective Services May Link Families to Needed Income Supports
The adverse effects of poverty on child and adolescent development are well documented and have been of interest to policy makers for several decades.1 Childhood poverty has a number of lasting impacts, including negative educational and cognitive outcomes, social and emotional behavior problems, poor adult economic outcomes, and health problems.2 For some children, these challenges are coupled with other family stressors including child maltreatment: children in poor families are approximately five times more likely to experience maltreatment than children in non-poor families.3 A number of public safety-net programs exist to help improve the economic well-being of vulnerable children,4 but little is known about the extent to which families with a child maltreatment report receive these services over time. In this brief, we examine the incidence of receiving four types of income support both immediately after the child maltreatment report and eighteen months following. Receipt of benefits immediately after the making of a report may suggest that families were connected to support services prior to their engagement with child protective services (CPS); receiving them only later may suggest the influence of the CPS engagement on support service use. The income supports analyzed include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); housing assistance; and the Social Security disability support. We also examine whether there are differences in the use of these income supports across rural and urban settings.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Family, Food Assistance, Poverty, Safety Net Publication
Child Tax Credit Expansion Increases Number of Families Eligible for a Refund
The analysis shows that more than 500,000 rural families, or almost 9 percent of rural families, will become newly eligible for the Child Tax Credit under the expansion included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Within these families are an estimated 900,000 rural children. The proportion of urban families benefiting from the expanded Child Tax Credit is slightly lower than in rural areas, but only 5 percent of suburban families are newly eligible for the credit.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Employment, Rural, Safety Net, Tax, Urban Publication
Children in Central Cities and Rural Communities Experience High Rates of Poverty
New U.S. Census Bureau data released in August highlight increasing similarities of poverty rates between children in urban and rural communities. This common indicator of child well-being is closely linked to undesirable outcomes in areas such as health, education, emotional welfare, and delinquency.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural, Urban Publication
Civil Protective Orders Effective in Stopping or Reducing Partner Violence
Civil protective orders are a low cost, effective solution in either stopping or significantly reducing partner violence for women. While all women benefit from civil protective orders, this brief finds there are greater obstacles to enforcement in rural places, which result in less benefit for rural than urban women. The authors suggest that policies and services should be tailored to address community-specific barriers and differences such as hours of access, time it takes to obtain or serve an order, and access to information about the process.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Health, Rural, Urban, Women Publication
Closing Racial-Ethnic Gaps in Poverty
Although the role of government programs in alleviating poverty is widely studied, far less attention is paid to how these programs may differentially impact people with different racial-ethnic identities. Given that poverty rates among non-Hispanic whites are significantly lower than among other groups, programs with disparate effects by race can either widen or decrease racial-ethnic gaps in the poverty rate.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Safety Net Publication
Community Strength and Economic Challenge: Civic Attitudes and Community Involvement in Rural America
Residents in rural areas that are rich in amenities report a positive outlook about their community strength and civic engagement, with nine out of ten saying they would work together to solve a community problem. However, residents in chronically poor rural communities are less likely to trust, get along with, and help their neighbors. Michele Dillon, professor of sociology at UNH and faculty advisor at the Carsey Institute, and Justin R. Young, a doctoral student in sociology, used data from the Community and Environment in Rural America (CERA) survey to highlight the variation in patterns of civic involvement across rural America.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Civic Attitudes, Community, Rural Publication
Comparing Teen Substance Use in Northern New Hampshire to Rural Use Nationwide
Using data administered in 2011 from the Carsey Institute’s Coös Youth Study and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, this brief compares teen substance use patterns in New Hampshire’s most rural county to patterns among rural youth nationwide.
New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Coös Youth Study, Health, New Hampshire, Young Adults Publication
Concentrated Poverty Increased in Both Rural and Urban Areas Since 2000, Reversing Declines in the 1990s
The number of nonmetropolitan counties with high poverty rates increased between the 2000 Decennial Census and 2011–2015 (hereafter 2013) American Community Survey (ACS), and so did the share of the rural population residing in these disadvantaged areas. Over this time period, the percentage of rural counties with poverty rates of 20 percent or more increased from a fifth to nearly one-third, and the share of the rural population living in these places nearly doubled to over 31 percent. Levels of concentrated poverty increased substantially both before and after the Great Recession in rural areas, while increases in urban areas occurred mainly during years affected by the economic downturn (Box 1). Increases in county-level poverty rates were also concentrated in rural areas with small cities, and the share of the population residing in high-poverty counties increased much more among the non-Hispanic white and black populations in rural areas than among the rural Hispanic population.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Poverty, Rural, Urban Publication
Concentrated Rural Poverty and the Geography of Exclusion (Copub with Rural Realities)
One-half of rural poor are segregated in high-poverty areas, a new policy brief co-published by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire and Rural Realities. This brief highlights the challenges faced by America's rural poor, particularly as they are physically and socially isolated from middle-class communities that might offer economic opportunities.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Poverty, Rural Publication
Coverage Rates Stabilize for Children’s Health Insurance
Recognizing that adequate health care is key to childhood development and long-term health, policy makers expanded public programs to provide children with health insurance: first, Medicaid in 1965 and, in 1997, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). In April of 2015, Congress renewed SCHIP for two additional years. Therefore, providing children with health coverage has been recognized by lawmakers as key to childhood development and long-term health. This brief uses data from the American Community Survey to estimate children’s health insurance coverage from 2008–2013 across the United States as well as by region, place type, and type of coverage.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Health Insurance Publication
Data Snapshot: 2016 Child Poverty Rate Sees Largest Decline Since Before Great Recession
Child poverty declined by 1.2 percentage points between 2015 and 2016, according to analyses of the official poverty measure (OPM) in the latest American Community Survey. By 2016, child poverty across the nation was still 1.5 percentage points higher than before the Great Recession.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Poverty Publication
Data Snapshot: Both Rural and Urban SNAP Recipients Affected by Proposed Work Requirements
With the expiration of the current Farm Bill on September 30, 2018, the House and Senate are working in conference committee to reconcile their versions of its replacement. A major difference between the two is the House’s inclusion of a more intensive work requirement. By narrowing the parental work exemption to only those with children under age 6, and requiring recipients up to age 60 (rather than 50) to work, the proposed House bill would newly subject about 16 percent of SNAP recipients in rural and urban places alike to work requirements.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Food Assistance, Rural, Safety Net, Urban Publication
Data Snapshot: Declines in Child Poverty Continue in 2017
The official poverty measure indicates that child poverty declined by 1.1 percentage points between 2016 and 2017, according to analyses of the latest American Community Survey data released today. By 2017, child poverty across the nation was still 0.4 percentage point higher than before the Great Recession. Child poverty remained higher in cities and rural places than in the suburbs. For the first time, rates in cities dipped below the pre-recession level, although poverty is still slightly higher in rural and suburban places than in 2007.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural, Urban Publication