A lot of hands are applauding the recovery of the U.S. economy except the little hands of children.
That’s because many kids are in homes throughout the country, where their parents are struggling to feed them. The U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday that the number of children on food stamps remains higher than it was in 2007 before the start of the Great Recession.
That was when the bottom fell out of the good times with easy credit, comparatively high home ownership and a fairly stable job market. The housing market during the worst recession since the Great Depression tanked with record high foreclosures, the stock market plunged, equity in homes dropped, retirement accounts took a hit, interest earnings at banks fell to almost zero and credit was hard to get.
The economies and currencies of Europe and Japan continue to suffer. China is staggered, but the U.S. since 2009 has been rebounding.
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However, that has mostly been with the wealthiest people in the nation, who’ve seen their fortunes on Wall Street recover. The housing industry has shown signs of improvement so has manufacturing. But on Main Street long-term unemployment remains a problem especially for older workers and the parents of young children.
The rate of kids in homes where married parents receive food stamps has doubled since 2007, the census reports. About 16 million children, or about 1-in-5 benefited from food stamps in 2014.
In 2007, about 9 million kids, or about 1-in-8 benefited from food stamps, data from the 2014 Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement shows. It has collected statistics on families and living arrangements for more than 60 years.
The data should give Congress and the president something to focus on as they consider legislation this year to improve the fate of families. However, the political wrangling between the Republican controlled House and Senate and the White House will likely result in little action.
But lawmakers need to look at the census information closely. All is far from good from purple mountains and from sea to murky sea. The census tells us that of the 73.7 million children under 18 in the U.S.:
▪ 10 percent live with a grandparent (7.4 million).
▪ 79 percent live with at least one sibling (58.5 million).
▪ 15 percent have a stay-at-home mother (10.8 million)
▪ 0.6 percent have a stay-at-home father (420,000).
▪ 38 percent have at least one foreign-born parent (28.3 million).
▪ The share of children who live with one parent only has tripled since 1960, from about 9 percent to 27 percent.
▪ The share of single-person households has more than doubled since 1960, from 13 percent to 28 percent (34.2 million households) today.
▪ More than two-thirds (69 percent) of white households own their home, compared with fewer than half of African American(43 percent) or Latino (46 percent) households.
▪ Fewer than half (48 percent) of households today are married couples, down from 76 percent in 1940.
▪ The median age when adults first marry continues to rise. In 2014, it was 29 for men and 27 for women, up from 24 and 21, respectively, in 1947.
▪ 36 percent of 30- to 34-year-olds have never been married.
▪ Married couples have more children in the household, on average, than either single mothers or single fathers.
▪ Married couples make up the majority (72 percent) of the 86.4 million family groups, which are defined as two or more people who live together and are related by birth, marriage or adoption.
▪ Unmarried mothers and unmarried fathers make up 12 percent and 2 percent of family groups, respectively.
▪ 24 percent of married families with children under 15 have a stay-at-home mother, and 1 percent have a stay-at-home father.
▪ There are about 13 million more householders 65 or older than there are householders under age 30. In 1960, the difference was just 2.5 million.
▪ A quarter of all adults 65 or older are widowed; fewer than 5 percent have never been married.
▪ About 12.5 million older adults live alone, representing 28 percent of adults 65 or older.