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US Almost half of U.S. families with young children face high risk of poverty due to insecure employment, research shows

00:10  04 december  2021
00:10  04 december  2021 Source:   cnbc.com

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Almost half of U . S . families with young children have faced a high risk of falling into poverty in the first six years of their children ' s lives, according to new academic research . What put those families at risk ? Insecure or precarious parental work, according to a study from experts at New York University and Washington University. Four indicators were used to measure whether parents were in less than ideal employment situations: work schedules, occupation, hourly wages and weekly work hours. If those elements in parents' employment were unstable, their children were more likely to experience

In America, nearly 11 million children are poor. That’ s 1 in 7 kids, who make up almost one-third of all people living in poverty in this country. This number should be unimaginable in one of the world’ s wealthiest countries, and yet child poverty has remained stubbornly high for decades Across the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is made up of 37 countries And ultimately, joblessness, caregiving responsibilities, single parenthood, and other common life events only put children at risk of economic insecurity because U . S . policies have allowed that reality.

  • Almost half of American families with young children have faced high risks of falling into poverty, according to new research.
  • That could have lasting effects on how well their children are able to escape the cycle of poverty later in their lives.
  • Policies that help promote stable jobs and decent wages, benefits and child care may help reverse those trends.
  Almost half of U.S. families with young children face high risk of poverty due to insecure employment, research shows © Provided by CNBC

Almost half of U.S. families with young children have faced a high risk of falling into poverty in the first six years of their children's lives, according to new academic research.

What put those families at risk? Insecure or precarious parental work, according to a study from experts at New York University and Washington University.

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Children in nonmarried families are at greater risk for poverty and especially so during a time of macroeconomic recession. Single, female-headed households are at high risk of living in poverty (Christopher et al., 2002;Kramer et al., 2016), even when employed (Brady, Fullerton, & Cross, 2010). For the most part, married or cohabitating families are more economically secure than single heads of households, and thus being partnered can be viewed as a protective factor against living in poverty .

Within families , poverty is relatively higher among children , older persons, and people living with disabilities. Evidence from various disciplines has shown that children growing up in low-income For example, more than half of the population of sub-Saharan Africa still lives in extreme poverty (Figure 1). It is also universal knowledge that a third of sub-Saharan Africans are underfed. This is largely due to the sub-continent’ s dependence on small-scale subsistence agriculture which is increasingly affected by environmental and climate change risks , and offering insecure livelihoods (Cook & Kabeer, 2009).

Four indicators were used to measure whether parents were in less than ideal employment situations: work schedules, occupation, hourly wages and weekly work hours.

If those elements in parents' employment were unstable, their children were more likely to experience poverty in their early years, the research found.

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That had lasting consequences for the children studied, who are now young adults. The data included about 10,000 children born in the U.S. in 2001, and followed them through 2007.

"The early childhood experiences of this young adult generation could have implications for their vulnerability to and resilience with today's precarious job market," the research published in the "Journal of Child and Family Studies" states.

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Poverty put children at highest risk of suffering from the COVID‑19 crisis. Figure 1. One in seven children is poor across the OECD on average. Box 2. What does the experience of the Great Recession tell us? Girls in developing countries face risks of early marriage and teenage pregnancies. Every year, 12 million girls are married before their 18th birthday, and about 7.3 million births per year are due to teenage pregnancies. In the aftermath of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, the increase in teenage pregnancies was most pronounced in vulnerable communities (UNSDG, 2020

Almost half of U . S . workers between ages 18 to 64 are employed in low-wage jobs, the Brookings Institution found. But not only small cities in the South and West have a high proportion of low-paid jobs, the Brookings authors noted. "Places with some of the highest wages and most productive economies are home to large numbers of low-wage workers: nearly one million in the Washington, D.C., region, 700,000 each in Boston and San Francisco, and 560,000 in Seattle," Ross and Bateman wrote.

The findings come as Congress is poised to consider a major social spending package that could have big benefits for families, with proposals including money for child care, a federal paid parental leave program and extended monthly child tax credit payments. It remains to be seen if that package, called Build Back Better, will get the necessary votes from Senate lawmakers.

The data focused on families during economic "golden years" before the Great Recession more than a decade ago, said New York University professor Wen-Jui Han, who co-authored the study, in an interview.

At that time, workers, particularly in those in service industries, faced pressures to work 24/7 as industries faced new demands to stay competitive amid growing globalization, which continues today.

Those working low-wage jobs may have to take two or three jobs and work 12 hours or 16 hours a day, Han said.

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While that trend did reverse a bit during Covid-19, with more workers able to say no to jobs without benefits or low pay, there is the risk that that may not continue, Han said.

"We are losing the power on the workers' side to negotiate the kind of wages, the kind of benefits, the kind of schedule we really should have to in order to really accommodate our family needs," Han said.

Because children of these workers often live in areas where they cannot access a quality education, it is more difficult for them to break the cycle of poverty and eventually get good paying jobs themselves in adulthood, Han said.

The findings point to a need for policies to address these families' struggles, according to Han, which can not only support children's needs in their early years, but also position them for success later on.

Ideally, that would include guaranteeing stable employment for parents, so they are not at risk of being fired every time there is a recession, while also ensuring decent wages and benefits, as well as child-care services.

"Income support is really very effective to help our families go through that difficult time where they really need financial support the most," Han said.

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