New data from the 2009 American Community Survey shows that as the Great Recession began to take its toll on Vermont's families in 2009, over 16,000 Vermont children were living in conditions that make it difficult for them to prosper and thrive.
"If there's one thing Vermonters can agree on, it's that all children deserve the same opportunities in life," said Carlen Finn, executive director of Voices for Vermont's Children. "Their future and that of Vermont depends on whether we ensure all kids have access to the strong fundamental building blocks: healthy nutrition, safe and stable housing, solid educational foundations, and health care services."
The census reserach shows that growing up in persistent poverty in Vermont poses high risks to early childhood health and development. Economic insecurity often leads to serious and prolonged stress, from a variety of factors: family tensions over a lost job, loss of housing or reliable transportation, food insecurity, or even changes in caregivers. Over time, poverty can become toxic to a child's emotional and cognitive development, leading to lifelong problems in learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health.
In 2009, 19 percent of Vermont children under the age of 6 were living in poverty as were 13 percent of all children.
When comparing these rates to Vermont seniors (7.8 percent) and working-age adults (11.5 percent), it shows that the younger the person in Vermont, the more likely he or she is living in poverty.