Number of children in Connecticut continues to decline, Census data shows

Back • Publication Date: August 4, 2023 • Education & Employment, Fiscal & Economics, Health & Housing

Experts say CT’s high housing and childcare costs are to blame

The number of children in Connecticut continues to decline, according to newly-released population estimates, and some experts say high housing and childcare costs are to blame.

The number of children under the age of 10 living in the state dropped by nearly 3,000 between April 2020 and July 2022, data from the United States Census Bureau shows.

While that loss accounts for a relatively small slice of the state’s overall population of children under 10 – less than 1 % – it adds to years of declines in the number of children living here.

From 2010 to 2020, the number of children under the age of 10 fell by 20%, according to data from the Census.

Nationally, the child population has also seen a decline. In 2010, children under the age of 10 accounted for about 13% of the overall population, but by 2020 that declined to 11.9% and in 2022 it dropped to 11.6%.

Patrick O’Brien, research and policy director for Connecticut Voices for Children, said multiple factors are causing the child population here to decrease.

Chief among them is Connecticut’s high cost of housing, he said.

“A higher percentage of households in Connecticut are housing cost burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing,” O’Brien said. “This applies to both renters and homeowners.”

Another factor is the cost of childcare. “Compared to most states, Connecticut families pay a higher percentage of their income on childcare,” O’Brien said.

While incomes in Connecticut are generally higher than a lot of other states, when childcare is measured as a percentage of income – taking into account the state’s higher incomes – it’s more expensive than most states, he said.

“Only four other states have childcare costs that are as much or more than Connecticut when measured as a percentage of income,” O’Brien said.

He said Connecticut’s “unfair tax system” that increases income inequality and racial ethnic income gaps, is another factor that can be attributed to the decline in the state’s child population.

“Connecticut is the only high cost of living state with independent income tax and doesn’t adjust for either family size or childcare expenses,” O’Brien said.

He said the decline in the child population could slow the state’s economic growth in the long term.

A different trend in parts of CT

Two planning regions (Connecticut’s new county equivalents) bucked the trend in recent years.

The Naugatuck Valley Planning Region (upper New Haven County region) and the Western Connecticut Planning Region (upper Fairfield County region) were the only Connecticut planning regions to see an increase in children under 10 years old between 2020 and 2022, Census data shows.

The data shows that Naugatuck Valley Planning Region saw a 0.4% increase in young children from 2020 to 2022 – an increase of a little more than 200. The Western Connecticut Planning Region saw a 0.2% increase (140 children) during the same time period.

In contrast, the Southeastern Connecticut Planning Region (majority of New London County region), had the highest decrease of more than 2% over the same time period, or about 600 children.

Other patterns

As the state’s child population has declined, it has also become more diverse.

The data also shows that the number of children of color in Connecticut increased by almost 2%.

Much of the increase is attributable to the growth in the Hispanic or Latino population

In 2020, 22.6% of children under 10 in Connecticut were Hispanic or Latino. By 2022, 23.8% were Hispanic or Latino.

While the child population declines, Connecticut in recent years saw an increase of people in their 20s and 30s, the most likely age groups to have children.

The highest population increase from 2020 to 2022 was among those aged 70 to 79.

Authors: Taylor Johnston •  Source: CT Post • View