Report: Recession Has Hit Oregon Kids

'Children First' Issues Data Book, Sees '90s Gains Lost

POSTED: 11:28 PM PDT September 7, 2011    UPDATED: 4:11 AM PDT August 17, 2011 
PORTLAND, Ore. -

Oregon ranks 18th in the nation in key indicators of child health and well-being, as the recession of recent years has erased gains seen during the 1990s, according to data released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in its 2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book.

The Data Book highlights that children in Oregon have experienced:

? Improvements since 2000: Oregon?s child death rate has declined, along with the teen death rate, teen birth rate, teen drop-out rate and the number of children under 18 in single parent families.

? On the other hand, between 2000 and 2009, Oregon saw increases in low-birthweight by 9 percent; infant mortality rate by 4 percent; and the number of Oregon?s children living in poverty by 6 percent.

?This data makes it clear that the recession is having a dire impact on the health of new parents and the welfare of our children,? said Robin Christian, executive director of Children First for Oregon. ?Combined with state budget cuts, families are struggling to provide basic necessities like food and adequate housing for their children.?

According to data in the 22nd annual KIDS COUNT Data Book the economic and social gains for children that occurred across the 1990s stalled, even before the economic downturn began. This year?s Data Book reports an eighteen percent increase in the U.S. child poverty rate between 2000 and 2009. This increase means that 2.5 million more American children are living below the federal poverty line ($21,756 for a family of two adults and two children) and effectively wiping out the gains made on this important measure in the late 1990?s.

In an ongoing effort to track the impact of the recession, there are two new indicators in this year?s data set -- the number of children impacted by foreclosure and households with at least one unemployed parent. In Oregon, 40,000 of the state?s children were impacted by foreclosure since 2007. In 2010, an estimated 111,000 children in this state lived in households where there was at least one parent who was eligible for and or seeking employment, but was unemployed at the time the data were collected.

?Making sure Oregon?s children are healthy, safe and have a roof over their head requires a sustained commitment from all members of our state, whether public or private sectors, individuals or communities,? said Christian. ?Now is the time for smart investments of public and private dollars to insure that families can maintain the stability so essential to the health and welfare of children.?

In addition to the 10 key measures tracked in the Data Book, the KIDS COUNT Data Center (http://datacenter.kidscount.org) provides easy, online access to the latest child well-being data on hundreds of indicators by state, county, city, and school district.

It serves as a comprehensive source of information for policymakers, advocates, members of the media, and others concerned with addressing the needs of children, families, and communities. By visiting the Data Center, users can download the complete Data Book, and create interactive maps and graphs. Visit the new mobile site being launched in conjunction with this year?s Data Book from your Smartphone, such as the Droid, BlackBerry, or iPhone.

Follow the Annie E. Casey Foundation and this issue on Twitter @aeckidscount and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KIDSCOUNT.

For 20 years, Children First for Oregon has been Oregon?s most respected nonprofit, nonpartisan child advocacy organization, committed to improving the lives of Oregon?s vulnerable children and their families. Children First?s mission is to make long-term, systemic change by advocating for policies and programs that keep children healthy and safe, and strengthen families.