Left Out: The Status of Children in Delaware County

Posted by Public Citizens for Children and Youth on October 17, 2016

1,000’s of kids left out of recovery in suburbs

While recent headlines tout a national recovery from the Great Recession, more children in four suburban counties surrounding Philadelphia are worse off now than during the depths of the recession, according Public Citizens for Children and Youth. This week, PCCY released the first of four reports on the status of children in Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks and Chester counties, titled, “Left Out: The Status of Children in Delaware County.”


PCCY found that while the number of jobs and median incomes fully rebounded in each of the four counties, children were still suffering from the effects of the recession. The latest data shows that in 2015, slightly more than 48,000 children were living in poverty (the federal poverty level is defined as approximately $20,000 for a family of three) across the four counties. That’s 7,000 more children living in poverty than in 2009, when GDP was at its lowest and the unemployment rate peaked.

The reports points out that nearly half of these children, or 22,610, were in families that were desperately poor (incomes at half the federal poverty level, or around $10,000 for a family of three). That’s more children living in deep poverty than there are seats in the Wachovia Center. Here again, in spite of the overall economic rebound, the number of destitute children grew by more than 1,800 compared to 2008.

The recession not only pushed more children into poverty, but public policies that could have protected children from this hardship were not in place. For instance, compared to seniors who have Medicare and Social Security to help them stay afloat, children had much less protection so they suffered more. In every county, the share of seniors living in poverty recovered to pre-recession levels much more quickly than it did for children. Meanwhile, in Bucks, Delaware and Chester counties, child poverty rates remain higher than in 2008 while the number of seniors in poverty dropped to below recession levels in all four counties.

PCCY’s county series on the status of children relies on its newly created Child Wellness Index which examines four key areas to measure how children have fared since the start of the recession in 2008, including: economic well-being, health, early childhood education, and K-12 education.


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