Too many families with young children lack the financial security needed to thrive, with high poverty levels putting them at a greater risk of chronic stress, adverse experiences and poor health.
In fact, young children are more likely to experience poverty than older kids. And the stubborn wealth gap in the United States means that children of color are far less likely to know economic security and the opportunities that wealth affords their white peers.
Why It Matters
Children raised in poverty are more likely to experience toxic stress from hardships such as housing instability, hunger and violence.
Children in families that lack resources can be buffered by strong parental support. Without that support, they are at greater risk for delayed communication, language, and emotional development.
By the Numbers
A staggering number of babies are impacted by economic insecurity.
Poverty affects nearly one in five infants and toddlers in the US.
Parents in poverty are trying hard. Eighty percent of households in poverty have at least one employed adult, usually in a low-paying job that cannot support their family.
For American Indian/Native, Latino and Black children, the rate of poverty is nearly twice the rate as other groups due to inequitable public policy, wage structure, and racism.
Source: Think Babies and the National Collaborative for Infants & Toddlers (2021). Economic security [Messaging brief].
We confront so many challenges as a society that if we’re all stuck in the traumas of our childhoods, we’re not going to be able to weather them. Should ZERO TO THREE realize its vision for all babies, the future really would be limitless. In an ideal future, all babies would have what they need: safety, security, and health.
Paul Spicer, PhD
We advocate for the federal government to take bold steps to ensure babies grow up with economic security.
Our successes include the increase in unemployment compensation, stimulus payments and temporary child tax credits made available during the pandemic.
Join us in advocating for equitable policies and support for families.
Extending the enhanced Child Tax Credit, raising the minimum wage and subsidizing child care so that it’s affordable for parents and caregivers helps ensure all babies and families can thrive.
Babies need someone on their side in Washington. That’s us.
Our policy center is vocal on Capitol Hill and in states across the nation, providing conclusive research about how critically important the first three years of life are.