When I first started writing about the housing bubble in 2004, I feared the worst. Still, seeing the future and experiencing it are two different things.
Like most of my readers, I live in a fairly insulated community where it’s difficult to “see” what is happening to large swaths of America. We read about unemployment and poverty, but you have to know someone or drive around nearby neighborhoods to really feel the effects of the housing crash.
Statistics only tell part of the story, but they do provide some guidance. A record 33.8 million Americans received food stamps in April, reports Bloomberg. That’s a 20 percent increase from last year and a 1.8 percent climb from the month prior.
Considering that official unemployment is at 9.5 percent, it’s not surprising that the number of families needing food stamps has been increasing. Keep in mind that many economists believe the unofficial unemployment rate – people who are no longer eligible for benefits are excluded from official numbrs – is closer to 20 percent.
It is estimated that about 18 percent or 13.3 million of America’s children 17 and under were living in poverty in 2007, writes The Washington Post on the recently released report titled America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2009. The numbers are expected to be worse next year.
In Colorado, the number of kids in poverty rose by a whopping 85 percent from 2000 to 2007, reports the Denver Business Journal. That translates to 412,000 Colorado children living in poverty.
In Phoenix, the number of homeless students has increased 18 percent in the last year, reports The Arizona Republic. That means 25,000 children might be living in a hotel, campground, shelter, car or friend’s home. Arizona has the seventh largest student homeless population in the nation.
Many states also are cutting education funds, child care programs and health coverage for kids. It’s likely things will soon get worse, providing all of us with a better understanding of what this nasty economy is doing to Americans.
- Time for Legislature to Show They Care About Kids
- U.S. Sees Homeless Numbers Fall in ’08, Report Says, (but is expected to rise soon)