Work, Income and the American Family

Posted May 4, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Median family income among households with children by race and ethnicity

Three years ago, the unem­ploy­ment rate among U.S. par­ents hit a post-reces­sion low of 4%, and this sta­tis­tic has held steady ever since. At the same time, the medi­an income of fam­i­lies with chil­dren has inched upward in house­holds across America.

Despite these two very pos­i­tive trends, there’s room for improve­ment. For instance:

  • More than 14 mil­lion kids — 19% of all chil­dren nation­wide — are still liv­ing in poverty.
  • The medi­an income for an African-Amer­i­can fam­i­ly with kids falls 55% short of what their white coun­ter­parts are earning.

Across the nation, parental unem­ploy­ment rates vary wide­ly. This sta­tis­tic dips to a low of 2% in Col­orado, Hawaii, Ida­ho, Maine, Nebras­ka, New Hamp­shire, North Dako­ta and Wis­con­sin. It peaks — at 8% — in Alaska.

All states should work to ensure that par­ents have the req­ui­site resources to pro­vide for them­selves, their chil­dren and their fam­i­lies. Sup­port on this front can include pro­mot­ing a liv­ing wage as well as devel­op­ing pro­grams and poli­cies that can nar­row the nation’s wide racial wage gap.

Access more eco­nom­ic well-being data on the KIDS COUNT Data Center:

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