Ohio ranks 29th in children’s well-being
11% of kids lived with at least one unemployed parent in 2010.
Posted on 8.17.11
By Dave Larsen, Staff Writer 12:09 AM Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Nearly 300,000 children in Ohio lived with at least one unemployed parent in 2010, according to data released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The foundation’s 2011 Kids Count Data Book revealed that Ohio’s economic recession has hit children especially hard, ranking the state 29th in the nation in key indicators of child health and well-being.
“This data is just reflective of what’s happening nationwide, statewide and locally,” said Ann Stevens, spokeswoman for Montgomery County Job and Family Services. As funding for critical family services is cut, families are forced to make tough choices, she said. “Children are the most vulnerable and in ways the poorest people in our society.”
The annual study found that an estimated 286,000, or 11 percent of Ohio’s children lived with at least one unemployed parent in 2010. Foreclosure has impacted 188,000, or 4 percent of Ohio’s children since 2007, according to the data. An unemployed parent is one who is actively seeking work or waiting to be called back to a job from being laid off.
The state’s child poverty rate in 2009 was nearly 22 percent, which represents a 46 percent increase since 2001, said Renulka Mayadev, executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio.
Stevens said Montgomery County’s child poverty rate also falls between 20 and 24 percent.
“Increasing demand and a declining local revenue stream makes for a difficult situation,” said Montgomery County Administrator Deborah Feldman.
The Casey Foundation’s latest study revealed a significant decline over the last decade in economic well-being for low-income children and families.
The official child poverty rate, which is a conservative measure of economic hardship, increased 18 percent between 2000 and 2009, essentially returning to the same level as the early 1990s.
The increase means that 2.4 million more U.S. children are living below the federal poverty line, foundation officials said.
“These are challenges that are not easily fixed,” Stevens said. “When there is a lack of services it usually comes down to the children.”
Staff Writer Katie Wedell contributed to this story.
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