Facts and Statistics

  • Children born into a low-income household in the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Canada, and Germany have a better chance of improving their economic situation than those born in the United States*
    *Is the American Dream Alive and Well? Isabel Sawhill, The Brookings Institution, Pew Economic Mobility Project
  • In February, there were 5.5 unemployed Americans for every job opening.*
    *Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.zerohedge.com/article/bls-releases-latest-job-openings-data-number-unemployed-people-open-spot-increases-february-
  • According to a Pew Research Center study, approximately 37% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have either been unemployed or underemployed at some point during the recession.*
    *USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2010-04-23-1Ageny23_CV_N.htm
  • According to a new report based on U.S. Census Bureau data, only 26 percent of American teens between the ages of 16 and 19 had jobs in late 2009 which represents a record low since statistics began to be kept back in 1948.*
    *Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/01/26/us-usa-employment-youth-idUSTRE60P0Z620100126
  • More than 40% of those employed in the United States are now working in low-wage service jobs.*
    *CNN Money http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/20/news/economy/consumer_retail_walmart.fortune/index.htm
  • According to one new survey, 24% of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.*
    *CNN Money http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/09/pf/retirement_confidence/index.htm
  • This most recent recession has erased 8 million private sector jobs in the United States.*
    *USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/income/2010-05-24-income-shifts-from-private-sector_N.htm
  • 39.68 million Americans are now on food stamps, which represents a new all-time record.  But things look like they are going to get even worse.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting that enrollment in the food stamp program will exceed 43 million Americans in 2011.*
    *Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/05/07/us-food-usa-stamps-idUSTRE6465E220100507
  • Poverty in America affects all races; 45% of those living in poverty are White; 26% are Hispanic; 25% are Black; 4% are Asian*
    *US Census Bureau, 2009
  • More than 1 in 5 children living in America today are poor*
    *US Census Bureau, 2009
  • 29%, or nearly 1 in 3, young children in rural America live in poverty*
    *US Census Bureau, Sept. 28, 2010
  • 49% of all children will spend at least one year on food stamps*
    *Mark Rank, PhD, Washington University in St. Louis, November 2, 2009, http://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/15000.aspx
  • The United States spends an estimated $500 billion, or 4% of the GDP, on childhood poverty*
    *The Economic Costs of Poverty in the United States, Center for American Progress, 2007
  • 7 out of 10 American children living in poverty have working parents*
    *US Census Bureau, 2009
  • Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.  Not only that, more Americans filed for bankruptcy in March 2010 than during any month since U.S. bankruptcy law was tightened in October 2005.*
    *New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/02/business/economy/02bankruptcy.html
  • RealtyTrac has announced that foreclosure filings in the U.S. established an all time record for the second consecutive year in 2009.*
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a6aLuu9zxbcM
  • The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that more than 10 percent of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one payment during the January to March time period.  That was a record high and up from 9.1 percent a year ago.*
    *Yahoo Finance News http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Mortgage-delinquencies-drag-apf-3683370452.html?x=0
  • U.S. banks repossessed nearly 258,000 homes nationwide in the first quarter of 2010, a 35 percent jump from the first quarter of 2009.*
    *RealtyTrac http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/the-foreclosure-crisis
  • In 2009, U.S. banks posted their sharpest decline in private lending since 1942.*
    *The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704188104575083332005461558.html
  • Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of 2010.*
    *USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/income/2010-05-24-income-shifts-from-private-sector_N.htm
  • Since the War on Poverty began in 1964, 1973 is the year we have been most successful in lowering the poverty rate*
    *US Census Bureau
  • In a 2009 Pew poll, 87% of the public agreed with the following statement - “Our society should do what is necessary to make sure that everyone has equal opportunity”*
    *The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 2009
  • America no longer leads in economic mobility. View the chart below to see where adult children end up when born into the bottom quintile, by country.


      *Sawhill, Haskins, Creating an Opportunity Society, 2009

  • In recent decades, individuals in the lowest economic quintiles have not benefitted from significant increases in GDP/capita as much as those in upper quintiles.*
    *Maria Cancian and Sheldon Danziger, Changing Poverty and changing antipoverty policies, Focus Magazine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Institute for Research on Poverty, Volume 26, Number 2, Fall 2009, page 1