The 5 most important demographic trends impacting our children

Children of Immigrants
Children on the Ballot
Education
Federal Budget
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Poverty & Family Economics
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Children are not faring well in America. Over the course of the current campaign cycle, eight million children will be born in this country. If our nation’s elected leaders do nothing, more than 75,000 of those children below the age of 2 will be abused or neglected, over 500,000 will be uninsured, and nearly two million will live in poverty.

Changing demographics and their implications on public policy and politics in America will undoubtedly play an important role in either improving the status of our nation’s children or in leading to further declines. First Focus’s latest report highlights five demographic trends that illustrate the challenges and opportunities for our children.

1. Children are leading a demographic transformation

For the first time in 2011, babies born in America were “majority-minority,” or non-White. Today, they represent a majority of children under age 5. If we want a country that will continue to be strong and successfully compete with other nation’s across the world, we must make investments to improve the lives and outcomes for all our children and eliminate racial disparities.

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2. The racial generation gap is growing

Older voters prioritize programs that benefit seniors. Even among parents, especially fathers, children’s issues are a secondary concern. As White baby boomers continue to age, and our nation’s children are increasingly Hispanic, African-American, and Asian-American, the “culture generation gap” or “racial generation gap” is growing.

As evidenced by Arizona’s systemic divestment in children, a large gap can be devastating to the majority-minority child population.

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3. The geographic regions with the largest child population growth have the poorest outcomes

The seven states that make up the American Southwest are home to 90 percent of the recent increase to our country’s child population, more than half of the Hispanic child population, one-third of American Indian and Alaskan Native children, and more than 40 percent of our country’s Asian children.

An analysis of the effort these states make to invest in their children, controlled for available budget resources, shows that in addition to being poorer than the average state, they also have a lower level of support for education. Money, or rather the lack thereof, and the political decisions states make in distributing it, clearly matters to the outcomes for kids.

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4. Minority voters are increasingly and highly supportive of children’s programs

The percentage of minority voters is rising. Both Hispanic and African-American voters have consistently expressed much higher levels of support for children’s programs, even when pitted against universally popular programs like Medicare and Social Security.

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5. As gender roles shift, younger men are more supportive of children’s issues

There has historically been a large gender gap in which women express much stronger support for making investments in children than men. However, as young men are taking on a greater share of child-rearing duties in families, that gender gap appears to be disappearing.

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