Research Shows More Children Suffer From Poverty After The Recession

A Rice University professor explains why educators and policy makers should be mindful.


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In 2008, the economic downturn added stress to families across the U.S..

Rachel Kimbro, a professor at Rice University, was interested in seeing what effect this had on children.

"And what we found is that more children after the great recession were living in high poverty neighborhoods," Kimbro says.

Kimbro worked with researchers at University of Pennsylvania and the University of Wisconsin to analyze data about kindergartens nationwide from 1998 to 2010.

The results showed that in the 12 year span, kids who lived in impoverished areas increased from 36 percent to 44 percent.

Kimbro says the recession had a wider reach than she thought.

"It was white kindergarteners and non-poor, so kindergartners who weren't poor, who were more likely to be living in high poverty neighborhoods after the recession," Kimbro says.

Researchers say this doesn't mean things got better for minority groups, but became worse for everyone.

Kimbro says these results are troublesome because it’s linked to children being behind in school.

"Children from high poverty neighborhoods, in our study, were about one year behind academically when they started kindergarten," Kimbro says.

She hopes the research will help teachers and school districts understand that more of their kindergarteners are coming from high poverty neighborhoods and may need more help.

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