How Prevalent are Maternal and Family Risks among U.S. Elementary School Children?

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How Prevalent are Maternal and Family Risks among U.S. Elementary School Children?

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The maternal and family risks most commonly encountered by U.S. kindergartners include: • living with a single mother (19 percent); • below the Federal Poverty Level (18 percent);1 • in a large family – four or more children at home (14 percent); or • with a mother who has not completed high school (12 percent). The least frequent risks were being born to a teenage mother (4 percent) or living with an unemployed mother (4.5 percent). These risks are more persistent among the most vulnerable children – those who were poor, racial/ethnic minorities, or suffered from poor health. A child’s risk status is directly related to family income; the poorer the children, the more they experience any of the risks tracked. For every affluent kindergartner – living at 400 percent of, or above the federal poverty level – who experienced each of the following risks: • 30 poor children experienced food insecurity at home;2 • 20 had a mother with low education; • 15 had an unemployed mother; • nine were