Nearly a third of Idaho children live in households where neither parent has a secure, full-time job. That’s according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Relying on 2010 data, the Kids Count numbers show an increasing percentage of Idaho children live in households where neither parent has reliable work — 31 percent in 2010, up from 26 percent in 2008.
Idaho Kids Count director Lauren Necochea looks to Idaho’s child poverty rate as an indicator of children’s economic well-being. That rate stood at 19 percent in 2010, compared to 14 percent in 2000. Necochea says that increase carries troubling implications for Idaho kids. “The increasing child poverty rates are concerning because of the long-term impacts,” she says.
“Children who experience poverty are less likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school. So it affects their long-term ability to earn a good wage and support a family.”
Necochea says there is a silver lining in all this.
“Sometimes the poverty in Idaho can be hidden, because we have a relatively low number of children living in areas of concentrated poverty, which is particularly harmful,” she explains. “So a strength of Idaho is that our children living in poverty are often embedded in communities that are thriving and have more supports. But these families still can be left behind.”
Idaho’s free and reduced lunch numbers give an indication of how children have fared in the state since 2010. Over the last two years, the percentage of children receiving free or reduced lunch has inched upward to just over 50 percent.