For quite some time now in my work with the YMCA, local communities and schools I have continued to take opportunity to look at the factors that measure our successes and opportunities as a community in Economic Well-Being, Education, Family & Community, and Health. Through our work with the Search Institute, Kids Count and the YMCA of the USA we are able to look at data and solutions to build a better community here in Rockford. For the next several weeks I would like to share some of the available data and talk about the ongoing local issues or opportunities to build a better community.
ECONOMIC WELL-BEING (aecf.org/2012)
“To help children grow into successful, productive adults, their parents need good jobs with good incomes, access to affordable housing and services and enough assets to build a better future. When parents are unemployed or their incomes are low, they may struggle to meet their children’s most basic needs for food, safe housing, medical care and quality child care. They may be unable to provide books, toys and activities that are develomentally enriching. Inadequate family income and economic uncertainty also increase parental stress, which, in turn, can cause depression and anxiety and increase the risk of substance abuse and domestic violence–all of which can compromise parenting. While the negative effects of poverty on children are troubling in their own right, they also increase the chances of poor outcomes for youth and young adults, such as teen pregnancy, not graduating from high school, poor health and lack of secure employment.”
- The child poverty rate increased from 19% to 22% between 2005 and 2010, representing an increase of 2.4 million children.
- 1 out of 3 children lives in a family without securely employed parents
- 41% of childen (4 out of 10 children in the US live in households with high housing cost burdens)
- 1 in 11 teens – Nationally, about 1.6 million teens between the ages of 16 and 19 (9 percent) were neither in school nor working in 2010, up from 1.4 million in 2008.
- 1 out of 5 children (22 percent) lived below poverty in the US in 2010
- More than 2 our of 5 children (44 percent) lived in low-income families in the US in 2010
The State of Illinois falls #27 in ranks for the Economic Well-Being. And I think we can all verify that Rockford is a large part of those results. Currently I am working with the Anne Casey Foundation to get the statistics and data for Rockford. On their website Rockford was not utilized in all data factors and as we move forward believe it would be very helpful to identifying opportunities for improvement specific to our city.
What we do know from the data above is that its not improving in todays time and we cannot continue to sit back and wait for data that we already generally know. How do we get Rockford in a better position to change these results when it comes to our Economic Well-Being?