North Carolina children continue to suffer from the recession

(Raleigh, NC) – The recession continues to take a heavy toll on children and families in North Carolina as current economic conditions are expected to remain similar to those of a year ago–and much worse than they were in 2007, according to a new national report. 

The Recession’s Ongoing Impact on Children, 2012: Indicators of Children’s Economic Well-Being, commissioned by the bipartisan national child advocacy group First Focus, uses unemployment, nutrition assistance, and lagged poverty data to forecast child poverty rates in 2012. The report predicts the national child poverty rate will likely remain high at 22.5 percent, more than one in every five children in the country. In North Carolina, the child poverty rate is expected to remain among the highest in the country at 26 percent.

“This report shows that North Carolina’s children continue to suffer from the recession, and sustained investments are needed to help reduce the negative impacts of a challenging economy on our children and families,” said Deborah Bryan, president and CEO of Action for Children North Carolina, a leading statewide child advocacy group. “Investments like tax credits for working families, Medicaid and other public health insurance programs for children are essential to help protect the well-being of our children and youth in times of need.”    

The report also examines the number of food aid recipients and parental employment. In North Carolina:  

  • An estimated 1 in 10 children lived with an unemployed parent in 2012, more than twice the rate at the start of the recession (four percent in 2007).  
  • An estimated 118,000 children lived with parents who were unemployed for six months or more in 2012, up from 23,000 in 2007.  
  • The number of SNAP recipients nearly doubled in 2012 (1,157–a 90 percent increase since 2007).  

A child’s current and future health and well-being is shaped by his or her economic security early in life. Bouts of parental unemployment and poverty can create both immediate and long-lasting damages that can harm a child’s growth and development. Near-term effects include psychological stress and poorer academic performance, and even increased incidences of abuse and neglect. Lasting consequences include diminished career aspirations and earnings as an adult.


  • 2.7 million more children lived with an unemployed parent during a typical month in 2012, compared to 2007 (an increase of 71 percent), bringing the 2012 total to 6.3 million children;
  • 2.8 million (44 percent of those living with an unemployed parent) lived, during a typical 2012 month, with a parent unemployed six months or longer;
  • 8.8 million more additional children relied upon SNAP for food in 2012, compared to 2007, bringing the total number of children receiving SNAP to 21.6 million (one in four) nationwide;
  • 16 million children (more than one in five) currently live in poverty; and
  • The number of states that are high child poverty states (where more than one-in-five children live in poverty) has nearly doubled during the recession, from 14 in 2007 to 27 in 2011

To read The Recession’s Ongoing Impact on Children, 2012: Indicators of Children’s Economic Well-Being, visit:

First Focus has developed and commissioned a series of reports, policy analyses, and other materials examining the recession’s consequences for America’s children. Those resources are available at