Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality’s recent report examines some of the effects of the declining economy resulting from the Recession, as well as institutions’ struggles after the market decline. People between the ages of 25 and 54 were employed at a rate 5% lower in November 2013 than in December 2007. Also, the unemployment rate for women and men is at its highest since 2000. Mirroring that trend, poverty rates have increased from 12.5% in 2007 to 15% in 2012. Poverty rates among children have risen from 18% to 21.8% from 2007 to 2012. The report also notes an improvement in safety net programs, which provide a large portion of the support low-income families need to get above the poverty line. These programs have increased their emphasis on encouraging market work.
The report explains that these effects on poverty have additional undesired residual effects. Some of those effects include inequalities in income, wealth, health, and education. For example, wealth among blacks and Hispanics has decreased more drastically than for whites as a result of the Recession. Also, the number of blacks and Hispanics who reported an inability to pay for health care rose by 0.6% from 1997 to 2012. And over the last 40 years, disparities in the level of academic achievement between blacks and whites has increased by 40%.
Patrice Garnette, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, The George Washington University Law School