More children live in poverty

The child poverty rate soared to 20 percent because of the recession, according to the Kids Count analysis of children’s well-being by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

“The recent recession has wiped out many of the economic gains for children that occurred in the late 1990s,” said Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and data at the Casey Foundation, as the report was released Wednesday. “Nearly 8 million children lived with at least one parent who was actively seeking employment but was unemployed in 2010. This is double the number in 2007, just three years earlier.”

The wave of foreclosures has increased housing problems for families with children.

Some 42 percent of children live in families under economic pressure, which Kids Count defines as $43,512 a year, or twice the federal poverty line for a family of four. That’s “a minimum needed for most families to make ends meet,” Speer says.

New Hampshire (11 percent), Minnesota (14 percent), and Massachusetts (13 percent) have the least child poverty, while Alabama (25 percent), Louisiana (24 percent), and Mississippi (31 percent) have the most.

While more children are living in poverty and in single-parent families, some child well-being factors have improved since 2000, including infant and child mortality, the teen birth rate and the dropout rate.