Russell Sage Foundation Research Projects on the Recession

  • Awarded Scholars:
    • Howard Chernick, CUNY Graduate Center
    • Cordelia Reimers, Hunter College

    As a result of the Great Recession, state and local budgets are facing severe fiscal pressure. A recent study showed an unprecedented two-year decline in state spending, and the trend does not seem likely to end soon. Tax revenues were down 12 percent in 2009, and only slightly less in 2010.

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  • Awarded Scholar:
    • Andrea Louise Campbell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    The Great Recession and its aftermath have put enormous fiscal pressures on the American states, which must bear the triple burden of steeply declining tax revenues, exploding costs for social assistance programs, and large investment losses in state pension funds. The aggregate budgetary shortfall experienced by the states amounted to some $430 billion between 2009 and 2011.

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  • Awarded Scholar:
    • Ingrid Gould Ellen, New York University

    Existing homes in the U.S. have lost about a third of their market value since the peak of the housing bubble in early 2006, and housing prices are still setting new lows. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimate that homeowners' equity has fallen by over 50 percent, or about six trillion dollars, during this period.

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  • Awarded Scholar:
    • Alicia Munnell, Boston College

    The financial crisis of 2007-08 and the subsequent slump in the general economy have hit many Americans hard, but none more so than those approaching retirement. High unemployment rates, plunging housing prices, volatile equity prices, and low interest rates on fixed income investments have combined to make the Great Recession particularly difficult for older Americans.

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  • Awarded Scholars:
    • Richard Johnson, Urban Institute
    • Barbara Butrica, Urban Institute
    • Karen Smith, Urban Institute

    The recession may still hold the greatest consequences for older Americans, who have the least time to recover from its effects before reaching retirement. The housing market remains weak, leaving many who are dependent on the worth of their home with an uncertain asset at best.

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  • Awarded Scholars:
    • Signe-Mary McKernan, Urban Institute
    • Caroline Ratcliffe, Urban Institute

    According to recent estimates, over 60 percent of U.S. households experienced a decline in wealth during the Great Recession. High rates of unemployment meant that many families could not make mortgage payments and lost their homes, and even those able to keep their homes saw their value plummet.

  • Awarded Scholars:
    • Sheldon Danziger, University of Michigan
    • Fabian Pfeffer, University of Michigan
    • Robert Schoeni, University of Michigan

    According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. households lost approximately 25 percent of their aggregate wealth between the end of 2007 and the middle of 2009, when the Great Recession was officially declared at an end. Since then, about half of that lost wealth has been rebuilt, as equity markets have bounced back and households have increased savings and reduced debt.

  • Awarded Scholars:
    • Hilary W. Hoynes, University of California, Davis
    • Patricia M. Anderson, Dartmouth College
    • Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Northwestern University
    • Kristen F. Butcher, Wellesley College

    Access to adequate food is critical for health and well-being, and lack of food may have lasting consequences for health and development, especially for children. Since 2000, rates of poverty and food insecurity in the U.S. have been rising, and both spiked dramatically in 2008 with the onset of the Great Recession.

  • Awarded Scholar:
    • Scott Allard, University of Chicago

    Data tabulated by the U.S. Census shows that poverty rates have jumped by 2.6 percentage points since the onset of the recession, rising from 12.5 percent in 2007 to 15.1 percent in 2010. Although the annual rate of 15.1 percent is the highest rate since 1983, growth in the U.S.

  • Awarded Scholars:
    • Gabriel R. Sanchez, University of New Mexico
    • Jillian Medeiros, University of New Mexico
    • Kimberly R. Huyser, University of New Mexico

    The Great Recession's economic impact on minorities and immigrants has been especially devastating. Between 2005 and 2009, Hispanic households lost 66 percent of their wealth and black households lost 53 percent, while white households lost only 16 percent. By 2010, when the overall unemployment rate was around 10 percent, it was 16 percent for blacks and 13 percent for Latinos.

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