The New York Times piece discusses how poverty is likely to rise disproportionately for children due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting economic downturn. This pandemic threatens families with children who will be hit the greatest as their expenses increase, but their income does not. With child poverty in the US already at 13 percent, NYT reported that we should expect those numbers to climb even more disproportionately.
As far as children that are raised in poverty, the impact is expected to be lifelong, knowing that these “children on average have worse adult health, lower earnings, and higher incarceration rates.” One researcher at Columbia University predicted that if quarterly unemployment hits 30 percent, 15.4 percent of Americans will fall into poverty for the year exceeding the Great Recession. The loss of jobs in America will only exacerbate the poverty level and widen racial disparities. Additionally, the hardship is “likely to widen racial disparities with poverty projected to rise twice as much for blacks as among whites.”
Ron Haskins from the Brookings Institution stated that “…the results are worrisome. Even if we can’t look at the numbers precisely, they show us we’re going to have a big increase in poverty.” Most Americans received their stimulus checks last week as a result of Congress passing the CARES Act, but there are many unknowns of the impact on poverty rates for the individuals most in need. Even more devastating is the effect on children.
“Poverty “disrupts the structure and function of the developing brain” through mechanisms that include poor nutrition, high stress, and exposure to environmental toxins, said Dr. Deborah Frank, a professor at the Boston University School of Medicine. “Even mild deprivation at an early age can have ripples and ripples,” she said. “What we’re talking about here is not only what a mess we’re going to be in next year but the mess we’re going to be in 20 years.”
To access the NYT’s article, click here.