Falling Behind

A new CBP report, Falling Behind: The Impact of the Great Recession and the Budget Crisis on California’s Women and Their Families, looks at the economic downturn’s effect on the state’s women, especially low-income women and single mothers.

The report shows that the budget crisis has resulted in severe cuts to supports for families as well as to programs that help women prepare for, find, and keep employment. These include major spending reductions to CalWORKs as well as to child care, Medi-Cal, in-home care, and postsecondary education. The report also shows that these cuts have come amid an economic downturn that has been hard on California’s women, especially single mothers.

The report finds that:

  • Employment and earnings among single mothers have dropped significantly during the economic downturn. In just three years – from 2007 to 2010 – the share of single mothers with jobs fell by more than 10 percentage points to 59 percent, its lowest point in almost 15 years, while the percentage of single-mother families living in poverty jumped to 36 percent.
  • The state cut a total of more than $3 billion from CalWORKs between 2008-09 and 2011-12, equal to about $3,000 for each of the 1.1 million children in the program.
  • The state has cut child care and preschool funding by a total of $1.5 billion over the past three years, eliminating services for tens of thousands of children – including 35,000 children in the current year alone.
  • Since 2007-08, state support for community colleges has dropped by almost one-fifth. Community college enrollment has dropped by almost 130,000 during this period, with women accounting for more than 80 percent of the decline.

Support for Falling Behind was provided by a grant from the Women’s Foundation of California. You can read the full report here and an executive summary of the report here.

—Steven Bliss