The Robin Hood Foundation released a survey on Covid-19 and working families in New York
The disturbing findings of the pandemic’s impact on New York families come from the Early Childhood Poverty Tracker survey, released Thursday. Jointly conducted by the Robin Hood Foundation, an anti-poverty philanthropy, and the Columbia University Center on Poverty and Social Policy, the survey measured the effects of poverty and hardship on 1,576 families with young children from the five boroughs before and during the pandemic.
Survey questions began in July 2017 and ended in November 2021. The researchers studied a wide range of New York families at different income levels, with children aged 3 or younger in 2017 and aged from 4 to 7 years old by 2021.
“We wanted to look not only at low-income circumstances [but] the large sample of the city and see how things change from year to year,” said Kathryn Neckerman, senior researcher at the Columbia Center for Population Research and principal investigator of the study.
The study was originally intended to focus only on the effects of poverty on working families with young children, but the advent of the pandemic has prompted investigators to examine the immediate repercussions that the economic upheaval of 2020 and 2021 has had. had on families, said Matthew Klein, chief program and impact officer at the Robin Hood Foundation.
Between 2017 and 2020, more than half of all children in New York spent at least a year in poverty, including 66% of black and Latino children. In 2020, nearly a quarter of the city’s young children lived below the poverty line, which is defined as $31,813 per household with families with one adult and $38,216 for households with two adults.
Of those children living in poverty in 2017, about a third were still living in poverty when the pandemic hit the city in 2020.
“I think what jumps out at you is just the notion of how many families with young children face challenges and difficulties during this period of their children’s infancy,” Klein said. . “When you follow the same families, you see people in real trouble.”
Mothers took issue the most
Neckerman said one of the biggest takeaways from the study was the number of women whose careers have been cut short by the pandemic. As schools and daycare centers closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, many working mothers were tasked with watching their children during working hours or quitting their jobs altogether.
Just over 25% of working mothers had stopped working by the end of 2020 and 10% moved from full-time to part-time work.
“For working moms, we’ve seen people either exit the workforce, cut their hours, go from full-time to part-time, or just lose income overall,” Klein said.
The survey found that white women and working families with incomes more than 200% above the poverty line were less likely to work in person and more likely to work remotely or through a hybrid arrangement. Black and Latino mothers were about half as likely as white mothers to work remotely.
Latino working mothers, more than any other group surveyed, have experienced some form of unemployment during the pandemic. Among working mothers below 200% of the poverty line, 68% suffered a loss of income.
Overall, a quarter of all working mothers in New York experienced a loss of income between March 2020 and November 2021.
“They’ve had disruptions in their jobs, and that has short-term financial consequences for the families, but it could have long-term consequences for their careers,” Neckerman said. “How will this affect them in the job market five to 10 years from now?”
The survey took into account federal stimulus checks distributed in 2020 and 2021, according to Klein, but the results were completed before researchers could measure the effects of the Biden administration’s child tax credit, which provided up to $3,600 to families for each child. under 6 years old and $3,000 for children up to 17 years old.
“Government assistance has been absolutely crucial in containing what would otherwise have been an even greater poverty crisis,” he said. “A huge lesson to be learned from Covid, more broadly, is that we have policy tools to affect child poverty in really dramatic ways.”