Let’s see if we can make sense of this.
UNICEF has just given Canada a passing grade, mind you barely a pass, when it comes to the fight against child poverty. In a report released today it claims that 21% of Canadian children live in poverty, nothing to brag about, but at least this is lower than the 23% who were poor just before the recession started in 2008.
Interestingly, Statistics Canada also says child poverty is down, but that only 8.5% of kids are poor. However, at the same time it says child poverty is up, reaching almost 14%. And finally, if this is not confusing enough, it says that, yes, 14% of kids are poor, but this is down since 2008.
Up or down? One-in-five kids poor, or one-in-seven, or maybe even as few as only one-in-eleven?
Continue reading “UNICEF gives Canada a passing grade, child poverty actually fell during the recession … or did it?” →
It is an understatement to say that the US welfare reforms of the 1990s were intended to give a little spring to the social safety net.
The intention was much more radical, involving a major make-over of income support, and turning what was imagined as a net ensnarling many Americans behind a welfare wall, into a trampoline, a springboard that would incentivize work and allow them to ride a wave of prosperity to higher incomes that would lift their children out of poverty.
But this is hardly what is needed when times turn bad.
The only virtue of a trampoline when employment falls by more than 8 million, when the unemployment rate more than doubles, and when median incomes drop by over $10,000, is that it catches you on the way down.
American families needed a safety net during the Great Recession, and a report released by UNICEF on child poverty suggests, surprisingly enough, that is exactly what they got.
The rate of child poverty, in spite of all the macroeconomic turbulence of the last six years, has hardly budged. This is in large measure because of discretionary policy changes on the part of the Federal government that quickly turned the clock back to the welfare system of the 1980s.
Continue reading “UNICEF reports that child poverty in the US was held in check during the Great Recession” →
At the TEDxWaterloo 2013 Event called chasingHOME I extended an invitation to participate in a conversation about a “crazy” idea: children should be given the vote. Here is the text of my presentation.
Continue reading “Citizenship as a privilege or as a right: should children be given the vote?” →
Hi my name is Z… and I am in 10th grade, I have a history project relating to economic inequality and social justice. I found your blog on economic inequality online and I was wondering if you could answer my interview questions, the questions are — What has happened to make economic inequality relevant in Canadian history? and To what degree has a commitment to social justice been significant in creating Canada today?
Continue reading “Inequality: for the 10th grader in you” →
The tax system is increasingly used to transfer cash benefits to families with children, but the United States accepts the trade-offs in program design very differently than other countries and gives children much less support.
In response to my July 10th testimony to the Senate Committee on Finance hearing on “Helping Young People Achieve the American Dream” I received some homework, a series of questions asking me for a good deal more detail. You can review all of the questions on my November 11th post. Child poverty is central to discussions of social mobility, and it is natural to wonder how tax policy can be designed to support the incomes of the least advantaged.
Continue reading “The US Senate wonders about tax policy for the American Dream: How can income transfers be designed to benefit all children in need?” →
Young children whose families immigrate to Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States are as prepared and capable of starting school as their native-born counterparts, with one exception: vocabulary and language development.
But the resulting disadvantages in reading skills are overcome to a much greater degree as they progress through school in Australia and Canada than they are in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Continue reading “Children of immigrants make more progress in Australia and Canada than in the UK or the US” →