The past few years have brought some positive developments for families and children. Economic growth has been steady, with nearly 13 million new jobs created since the end of the recession. More children have health insurance. The high school graduation rate is rising, and fewer teens are abusing drugs and alcohol. Births to teenage mothers continue to decline and are at a record low.
These improvements in the well-being of young people are due in part to federal, state and local policies that are helping prepare the next generation for the future. The Annie E. Casey Foundation | www.aecf.org 2016 kids count data book Yet, if we dig a little deeper, it quickly becomes clear that all is not well. The overall unemployment rate is almost down to its pre-recession level, but it remains above the national average for African Americans and Latinos, for workers with
only a high school diploma or less and for young adults. Even as more affluent families have recovered, the child poverty rate remains high. The steep cost of college is making it difficult for young people to obtain the skills and credentials that lead to greater earnings and economic mobility. Far too many parents are struggling to provide for their families and are deeply concerned about the future prospects for their children.
So it’s not surprising that economic insecurity is one of the electorate’s primary concerns this election season. Voters across the political spectrum are demanding that officials prioritize policies to address their bread-and-butter concerns. As public
pressure mounts for policymakers to find common ground and take action, our next president and a new Congress will have a rare opportunity to forge a bipartisan policy agenda to reduce poverty, increase opportunity and restore hope for today’s parents and the young people who will lead our country going forward.
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