EdStat: 2.3 Percent of U.S. Children Have a Parent in Federal or State Prison
The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 2.3 percent of U.S. children have a parent in federal or state prison. Incarceration removes a wage earner from the home, lowering household income. One estimate suggests that two-thirds of incarcerated fathers had provided the primary source of family income before their imprisonment. As a result, children with a parent in prison are at greater risk of homelessness, which in turn can have grave consequences: the receipt of social and medical services and assignment to a traditional public school all require a stable home address. The emotional strain of a parent’s incarceration can also take its toll on a child’s achievement in school. You can learn more about how family background influences student achievement by reading the full article in our Spring 2016 issue, which commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of James S. Coleman’s “Equality of Educational Opportunity” report. You can also hear author Anna J. Egalite discuss her findings on the EdNext podcast.