“Income Gap” Growing for Middle-class Families

A report from the Foundation for Child Development (FCD) offers an analysis of the relationship between family income and child health, education, and social outcomes. Declining Fortunes of Children in Middle-Class Families (pdf) found that even before the recent recession, middle class families saw a drop in family income of approximately $4,000, while privileged families only saw a decrease of $139. The “income gap” between middle class and high-income families has expanded over the past 20 years, from $60,000 in 1985 to $93,100 in 2008.

The  report found that for middle-class children, public education and health programs have helped to provide supports and services that their families cannot afford, like access to health insurance and pre-kindergarten education. The report’s authors caution that in the face of government budgetary shortfalls, eliminating these services would have a negative impact on the health and wellness of middle-class children.

“This study is a stark reminder that policies we set today have very wide and real ramifications in the lives of children – not only children from low-income families but children squarely in the middle class,” said Ruby Takanishi, President of FCD. “The budget decisions we make in the coming months will have consequences that could last a lifetime.”

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