Millions of Americans have been slammed by the decline in housing prices and the foreclosure crisis that followed the 2008 financial collapse, but a new report from First Focus and the Brookings Institution shows that there is one group of victims that has largely been ignored. According to the report, more than 8.3 million children are directly affected by the ongoing crisis, as single-family homes and rental properties continue to enter foreclosure.
Children have been “the invisible victims” of the crisis, but 2.3 million have already been directly affected by foreclosure. An estimated six million are in high-risk foreclosure situations, as the chart below shows:
Between 12 and 19 percent of children are in at-risk situations in California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona, and more than half a million children have gone through foreclosure in California alone. In six other states — Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, and Rhode Island — between 8 and 10 percent of children are at-risk. But even these estimates are “conservative,” the report says, as it examined mortgage data from 2004-2008 and is based on loan status as of February 2011. The actual numbers could be much higher.
The number of children living in poverty, exacerbated by the effects of the Great Recession, reached 15.7 million in 2011, and the number of homeless children has risen 33 percent in the last three years. The foreclosure crisis has contributed to that, placing children at a higher risk of entering poverty, and as the U.S. Census noted, “Children who live in poverty…are more likely than their peers to have cognitive and behavioral difficulties, to complete fewer years of education, and, as they grow up, to experience more years of unemployment.”