Action for Children North Carolina's 2009 Child Economic Opportunity Report Card, which was released today, shows North Carolina's children are increasingly disconnected from the network of institutions that provide an opportunity for success and make prosperity possible. The repercussions of this disconnection can be seen in the increased number of children in households burdened with high housing costs or in the number of children in poverty despite having full-time workers in their households.
Action for Children North Carolina aspires to provide a fuller picture of the economic conditions that affect children with the Child Economic Opportunity Report Card. For the first time, state and local data on family asset poverty are combined with income and community poverty information. The North Carolina Local Asset Poverty Index provides data on asset poverty by region.
North Carolina has made important investments through the N.C. Housing Trust Fund, the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the statewide system of childcare providers that support children's healthy development and households' economic stability. Now more than ever, investments must be expanded, to support working families, and diversified to support income, asset-building and community development.
"Many of the figures presented in the Child Economic Opportunity Report Card are grim, and with the recent downturn of the economy, they will likely only get worse," says Barbara Bradley, Action for Children North Carolina's President and CEO. "But this time of turmoil also presents an opportunity. North Carolina can position itself for a strong and lasting recovery by investing in the institutions that can ensure affordable housing, health care, childcare and savings opportunities for all children and their families."
Among the key findings of the Child Economic Opportunity Report Card:
- One of every four children living in poverty ($20,650 in 2007 for a family of four) has at least one parent working full time.
- The disparity in median household income between the wealthiest and poorest North Carolina households was $140,000.
- Nearly 30 percent of children live in asset poor households that do not have the financial cushion to remain above the Federal Poverty Level for three months without earned income.
- Child poverty is concentrated in the Coastal Plains in the east and the Mountain region of the west.