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Time: 48 minutes

On July 12, 2010, the Population Association of America (PAA), in cooperation with Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Charles Schumer, and Reps. Vern Ehlers, Rush Holt, Carolyn Maloney, and Lucille Roybal-Allard, sponsored a presentation at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., on recession, recovery, and families in the United States. PRB was one of the co-sponsors.

Americans are facing the greatest economic challenges since the Great Depression. In June 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the unemployment rate was 9.5 percent, with 14.6 million people unemployed. The Census Bureau reported that real median household income has declined, and that in 2008, the nation’s poverty rate was 13.2 percent, up from 12.5 percent in 2007. Furthermore, a record 2.8 million properties had a mortgage in foreclosure.

Although efforts to jumpstart the economy have mainly focused on helping the economic sector, it is also important to examine the plight of families and individuals, particularly those who are most vulnerable. Recent data are able to document the effects of the recession and, in some cases, speculate on what the longer-term consequences of recession and recovery could be, based on longitudinal surveys conducted by demographers at PAA.

Matthew Stagner of the University of Chicago opened the session. Speakers then covered data from surveys on three population groups, ranging from older Americans to children. Michael Hurd, director of the Center for the Study of Aging at the RAND Corporation, discussed the older population, using data from the Health and Retirement Study. Kathleen Mullan Harris of the University of North Carolina talked about young adults, using data from the Adolescent Survey of Health. Greg Duncan of the University of California–Irvine presented results on the long-term impact on children, using data from the Panel Study on Income Dynamics.


Matthew Stagner, University of Chicago, “Introduction” (Time: 0:00 – 6:00)

Michael Hurd, RAND Corporation, “Impact of the Recession on Older Americans” (Time: 6:00 – 21:10)

Kathleen Mullan Harris, University of North Carolina, “Impact of the Recession on Young Adults” (Time: 21:11 – 33:20)

Greg Duncan, University of California–Irvine, “Long Reach of Early Childhood Poverty on Children” (Time: 33:22 – 48:00)