A recent report finds Connecticut’s child population declined over the last decade.
According to a report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Connecticut was one of four states to see its population of children decline by 10% between 2010 and 2020.
But, the state’s child population has been on the decline for some time. Between 2000 and 2010, the state’s child population shrank by 3%.
Emily Byrne, executive director with Connecticut Voices for Children, described what can be done at a state level to bolster child population.
“We need to prioritize policies that invest in children and show, with real dollars, that we want families to root and grow here in Connecticut,” said Byrne. “The creation of a permanent state-level child tax credit and an expanded earned income tax credit are great examples. Funding Connecticut baby bonds is another great example.”
She added that at a local level, cities are enacting policies to bolster families’ ability to afford raising children in Connecticut.
But, the report notes this decline in children is bittersweet. With fewer children, this could mean additional educational dollars per child or less attention to education.
One challenge families are facing in Connecticut is high rental prices. A report from Connecticut Voices for Children finds 39% of renters in the state who weren’t current on rent payments felt they’d be evicted in the next three months.
This rate was higher for Black and Latino renters, reaching 54% and 56% respectively.
Byrne noted that the biggest challenge to helping families is a lack of political will across all levels of government.
“These policies are determined by the folks who are elected to represent people,” said Byrne. “So, I think this speaks to the import of being involved in elections at every level of government.”
Although the state’s General Assembly is reviewing several pieces of legislation to address housing costs, Byrne said she feels there needs to be significant investment.
The 2022 Kids Count Data Book shows Connecticut children living in households with a higher cost were down from 42% between 2008 and 2012 to 34% between 2016 and 2020.