Category: Vulnerable Families Research Program

Resource Category Topic Type
Fewer Than Half of WIC-Eligible Families Receive WIC Benefits
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) serves millions of low-income women, infants, and children who are at nutritional risk by providing checks or vouchers for nutritious foods, nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support, and health care referrals.1 Foods eligible for WIC are high in certain nutrients and designed to meet the special nutritional needs of low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, or postpartum women, as well as infants and children up to age 5.2 Research has shown that WIC is a successful and cost-effective program. Numerous studies find that WIC participation improves pre- and postnatal health outcomes; families’ overall nutrition; access to prenatal care, health care for children, and immunizations; and children’s cognitive development and academic achievement.3 In 2015, the average monthly WIC benefit was $43.58 per person. Easing the costs associated with buying nutritional foods frees up family resources for other necessities, like housing and medical costs. Families with pre-tax incomes up to 185 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for the program.4 WIC benefits are especially important for rural families, as the poverty rate is higher in rural than in urban areas (18 percent compared with 15 percent in 2014).5 It is important to consider uptake differences by place type as research indicates that rural women perceive more stigma surrounding participation in government assistance programs compared with women in urban areas.6
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Family, Food Assistance, Poverty, Safety Net Publication
Food Stamp and School Lunch Programs Alleviate Food Insecurity in Rural America
The Food Stamp and the National School Lunch Programs play a vital role in helping poor, rural Americans obtain a more nutritious diet and alleviate food insecurity and hunger. This fact sheet looks at the extent to which rural America depends on these programs and describes characteristics of beneficiaries of these federal nutrition assistance programs.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Food Assistance, Rural, Safety Net, Young Adults Publication
For One in Four Very Young, Low-Income Children, Parents Are Young Too
This brief maps the distribution of children living with young adult parents, describes their parents’ characteristics, and details ways to strengthen policy supports that can fortify their families’ ability to succeed.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Family, Young Adults Publication
Forgotten Fifth: Child Poverty in Rural America, The
One in five poor children in this country lives in a rural area. Yet this group of vulnerable young Americans is seldom on the minds of the public or policy makers when they talk about child poverty in the United States. This report highlights child poverty statistics in rural America and compares them to urban areas, discussing how they are affected by family, education, employment, and the government.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural, Young Adults Publication
Forty-three Percent of Eligible Rural Families Can Claim a Larger Credit with EITC Expansion
This policy brief on the changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit in the ARRA also shows that families with three or more children and married couples will receive an increased refund under these new EITC rules for tax years 2009 and 2010. Many families in urban and suburban communities will also see increased benefits under these new provisions.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Family, Rural, Safety Net, Tax Publication
Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Eligibility by New Hampshire State Legislative District
This brief translates New Hampshire free and reduced-price lunch eligibility data from the school level to the state House of Representatives legislative district level so that legislators have another resource for understanding the distribution of low-income families across the state and the extent to which child nutrition programs are especially relevant in their districts.
New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Food Assistance, Low Income, New Hampshire, Poverty, Safety Net Publication
Full-Time Employment Not Always a Ticket to Health Insurance
The majority of Americans—55.7 percent in 2016, according to the Census Bureau—access health insurance through employer-based plans.1 However, employment does not always result in health insurance coverage, and not all those who report working full time, year round are covered by an employer-based plan. In particular, many low-income workers are unable to access health insurance through their employers.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Health, Health Insurance Publication
Gains in Reducing Child Poverty, but Racial-Ethnic Disparities Persist
In 2015, for the second year in a row, child poverty rates declined in the United States. However, familiar patterns in levels and characteristics of child poverty persist: more than one in five children are poor; children of color are at disproportionate risk for poverty; and rates are highest in the South and West and in rural areas and cities (Table 1). This brief uses data from the American Community Survey to investigate patterns of child poverty across race-ethnicities and across regions and place types. We also explore changes in child poverty rates since 2014 and since the end of the Great Recession in 2009. The estimates presented in this brief are based on the official poverty measure (see Box 1 on page 3). Native Americans, Alaskan and Hawaiian natives, and those reporting multiple racial-ethnic backgrounds are excluded from this update because such samples are too small for meaningful analyses.
Vulnerable Families Research Program African Americans, Children, Poverty Publication
Gaps in Youth Opportunity by State
Public discourse on economics in the United States, and around the world, often focuses on rising income and wealth inequality. The “Occupy” movement drew great attention to the rising fortunes of the top one percent while middle- and lower-income Americans lost ground. Vast scholarly, political, and media attention is focused on issues of growing inequality and implications for broader societal cultural shifts as well as economic growth. Less attention has been paid to the changing landscape of opportunities enabling youth to get ahead, to improve their living situation over that of their parents through hard work and determination. Such social mobility has remained fairly stable for generations, but recent evidence across a range of indicia suggests growing gaps in the opportunities available to children in lower socioeconomic status families versus those in families of higher socioeconomic strata. This pushes the American Dream—or the idea that anyone who works hard, and plays by the rules, can get ahead—further out of reach. Such inequality is a potential threat to our social structure as well as our economic well-being.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Employment, Income, Poverty, Young Adults Publication
Half of Women in New Hampshire Have Experienced Sexual Harassment at Work
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious problem affecting workers across the United States and in New Hampshire. Nationwide, approximately four in ten women and more than one in ten men have been victims of workplace sexual harassment in their lifetimes.
New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Demography, Employment, Gender, New Hampshire, Women Publication
Hard Times Made Harder: Struggling Caregivers and Child Neglect
Poverty is only one of many challenges tied to a report of child neglect. The analysis in this brief finds that neglected children whose caregivers struggle with substance abuse and mental health problems are at significant risk for out-of-home placement. Risk factors for out-of-home placement for neglected children are discussed, as well as a multifaceted approach to services to prevent neglect and out-of-home placement.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Health, Poverty Publication
Health Insurance Among Young Adults Rebounds Post Recession: More Become Dependents on a Parent's Plan After ACA Extends Coverage to Adult Children
While much of the existing research explores young adults' insurance only in the post-recession period (that is, 2010 to present), authors Michael Staley and Jessica Carson assess young adults' rates of coverage within and beyond the context of the recession by examining changes across the entire 2007 to 2012 period.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Employment, Health, Health Insurance, Young Adults Publication
Hispanic Children Least Likely to Have Health Insurance
This policy brief examines health insurance coverage of Hispanic children and its relationship to their citizenship status, their parents’1 citizenship status, parents’ insurance coverage, language spoken at home, and their state’s Medicaid expansion policies. Hispanic Children Are Least Likely to Have Health Insurance In 2014, 94 percent of U.S. children had health insurance.2 Although this is a record high for children’s coverage, 4.3 million children still remain without health insurance, and Hispanic children make up a disproportionate share of this group. Hispanic children have historically had the highest rates of uninsurance among children of any racial/ethnic group.3 In 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, 95.4 percent of non-Hispanic white children, 95.3 percent of black children, and 94.4 percent of multiracial children had health insurance coverage. In comparison, only 90.3 percent of Hispanic children were covered, leaving more than 1.7 million Hispanic children uninsured. Hispanic children in rural areas are less likely to have health insurance than Hispanic children in urban areas (9.4 percent versus 12.2 percent, respectively).4 Nearly 40 percent of all uninsured children are Hispanic, although Hispanic children make up only 24.3 percent of children in the United States (see Figure 1). By contrast, though nearly 52 percent of U.S. children are non-Hispanic white, they comprise only 40 percent of uninsured children. Black, non-Hispanic children account for 13.6 percent of children in the United States but just 10.8 percent of uninsured children.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Health Insurance, Hispanics Publication
Homeless Teens and Young Adults in New Hampshire (co-publication with the Children's Alliance of New Hampshire)
More than 1,000 adolescents and young adults in New Hampshire are homeless, and their numbers are growing. The brief, co-published with the Children's Alliance of New Hampshire, provides an estimate of homeless youth in New Hampshire calculated from national and state data and describes the needs of homeless youth based on interviews and a survey of providers of homeless services in the state.
Evaluation, New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Family, Housing, New Hampshire, Young Adults Publication
Household Reports of Energy Assistance Receipt Increased 48 Percent During Recession: Proposed Cuts Threaten Vulnerable Families
This brief examines heating assistance usage and the implications of President Obama's 2012 budget proposal to cut $2.5 billion from the $5.1 billion energy assistance fund for low-income families at a time when families are struggling with higher energy costs amid a difficult economy. The federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists vulnerable families in paying their home heating and cooling bills. Nationwide, from the winter of 2006/2007 to the winter of 2009/2010, there was a 48 percent increase in households receiving energy assistance. This growth appears to have accelerated with the recession, particularly in the rural Northeast and Midwest. Many more families are eligible than receive assistance. Brief author Jessica Carson discusses how proposed cuts would have a concrete and immediate impact on families, particularly those in rural areas and in harsh winter climates.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Family, Housing, Poverty, Safety Net Publication
How Far Would You Drive for Fresh Food? How Some Rural New Hampshire Residents Navigate a Dismal Food Landscape
Lack of access to food stores with healthy and affordable food is one of the central obstacles to eradicating hunger in America. Approximately 23.5 million Americans live more than a mile from a supermarket, which makes accessing healthy food more challenging. Among low income populations, especially those with young children and limited transportation, this distance can severely limit access to affordable and healthy foods. This brief reports the challenges that eighteen rural New Hampshire mothers face to secure healthy, affordable, and quality foods and suggests ways to help address these challenges.
New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Family, Food Assistance, Low Income, New Hampshire, Rural, Safety Net Publication
Increased Reliance on Wives as Breadwinners during the First Year of the Recession
Among low-income families, the wages of employed wives account for the majority of family earnings, according to this Carsey brief. The analysis finds that in 2008, women contributed 56 percent of total family earnings, up from 51 percent in 2007. Also, husbands' education level and race are factors in how much wives contribute to family earnings.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Family, Gender, Wages, Women Publication
Informal Kinship Care Most Common Out-of-Home Placement After an Investigation of Child Maltreatment
This fact sheet examines differences between urban and rural areas in foster care placement with informal kin caregivers. The data for this analysis come from a national sample of children who had a maltreatment report that resulted in an investigation: the second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Family, Health Publication
Innovation in Food Access Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered income losses and rising demand for food-related support, while social distancing requirements have complicated access to usual nutrition support sites. In response, government agencies, private retailers, nonprofit organizations, and volunteer networks are undertaking innovative efforts to ensure food access by vulnerable populations. By highlighting strategies that are unfolding in real time, this brief shares an array of potential approaches for private, public, and nonprofit stakeholders to use in deploying their resources.
COVID-19, Vulnerable Families Research Program COVID-19, Food Assistance, Safety Net Publication
Intimate Partner Violence Among LGBTQ+ College Students
Drawing from a survey of 391 college students in same-sex relationships, this brief documents the rates and patterns of intimate partner violence, and responses to it among LGBTQ+ youth.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Education, Gender, Health, Young Adults Publication