March 2022

Early Childhood Poverty Tracker: Spotlight on Mental Health Disparities Among Parents

Low-income parents of young children face elevated rates of psychological distress, a marker of the costs of poverty and inadequate social supports, and a barrier to economic mobility

Contributors: Kathryn M. Neckerman, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Erica Eliason, Jill Gandhi, Yajun Jia, Matthew Maury, Jane Waldfogel

Issues Areas: Health & Well-Being, Households With Children

Early Childhood Poverty Tracker data finds that psychological distress is widespread among New York City parents of young children, with more than a third reporting experiencing either moderate or severe psychological distress. Parents were at higher risk of psychological distress if they lived in poverty, and especially if they experienced material hardship or often worried about money. For families living in poverty or with low incomes, ensuring more stable access to health insurance, as well as alleviating material hardship and financial uncertainty, could be beneficial for parents’ mental health and for longer-term economic and social wellbeing.