The United Hospital Fund collaborated with Boston Consulting Group on the new report, COVID-19 Ripple Effect: The Impact of COVID-19 on Children in New York State, that showed that 4,200 children in New York State have lost a parent to COVID-19 between March and July of this year. In addition, 325,000 children were pushed into or near poverty by the pandemic-related economic downturn. The new report is broken into two parts, highlighting the impacts of parental death on New York’s children and addressing COVID-19’s poverty-related effects and broader economic implications.
With 4,200 children in New York state who experienced a parental or caregiver death due to COVID-19, 57 percent of these deaths occurred in three counties, including the Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), and Queens. Disproportionately black and Hispanic children who have experienced parental/caregiver deaths from COVID-19 were impacted twice the rate of Asian and white children. Losing a parent or caregiver to COVID-19 will have severe and long-lasting consequences, including for the 23 percent of children at risk of entering the foster care system or kinship care. In addition, approximately 50 percent of the children may enter poverty due to the loss of a caregiver from the coronavirus. Research shows how the opioid epidemic heavily impacted families and contributed to grandparents raising their grandchildren, and now these same children might be disproportionately affected due to COVID-19 deaths.
For people and communities of color, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected black and Hispanic children and adults due to being at a greater risk of exposure and long-standing health and social inequities. For the black/ African American communities living in multigenerational housing, the use of public transit and working in high contact occupations put them at greater risk of exposure. The report shows how zip codes where overcrowded housing and high levels of poverty are heavily affected by COVID-19.
“Over 300,000 New York children are being driven into, or to the brink of, poverty due to rising unemployment,” stated the report. Findings indicated that since the beginning of the pandemic, over 1 million children in the state of New York have had at least one parent lose a job, and “an estimated 325,000 children are now living in or near poverty.” Also, 77,000 youth between 16-19 are unemployed. Data indicates that 180,000 are children of undocumented workers, 350,000 children were already living in or near poverty, 325,000 children are newly in or near poverty, and 225,000 children live in a household that maintains income above the 200 percent the federal poverty line despite job loss.
With the increase in child poverty due to the pandemic, New York children’s long-term consequences are dire. They are estimated to cost $1.7 billion over the next 50 years, with an additional $8.5 billion annual cost due to the learning deficits from the academic disruptions. The report focuses on two special populations to better understand the role of the pandemic, children who are newly in or near poverty due to parental job loss and teens affected by their job loss.
These two special populations will need additional assistance beyond the typical safety net services over the coming years. For teens, especially in low-income families, they often work to support family income, and this pandemic may contribute to a potential reduction in future earnings. The United Hospital Fund and the Boston Consulting Group are bringing attention to the long-lasting effects on families and communities, especially people of color.