The Great Recession

The Great Recession, now widely acknowledged as the worst postwar recession in U.S. history, has been tagged as “great” in part because its effects on the labor market have been broad, deep, and long lasting. Nearly five years after the recession’s official start, the unemployment rate still stands at 7.9 percent (for October 2012), and the official poverty rate at 15.0 percent (for 2011). The future of the economy and labor market remain, of course, less clear than we’d like. Time and again, we’ve found ourselves breathing a sigh of relief and thinking the worst is behind us, only to wake up to a new crisis and a new round of pessimism and anxiety.

But what about the social effects of the recession? Have these been just as profound? Have crime rates shot up, immigration and fertility rates plummeted, and health outcomes worsened? 

Table of Contents (Fall 2012)

A Social Fallout to the Great Recession?

The Great Decline in American Immigration?
Immigrants accounted for over a third of U.S. population growth in recent decades. But the Great Recession is bringing about a real turnaround in immigration dynamics.
The Crime Wave That Wasn't
An economic downturn is supposed to raise crime rates by reducing opportunities for licit employment and earnings. Why, then, have most types of crime continued to decline throughout the Great Recession?
Is the Recession Making Us Sick?
So far, at least, there's no evidence of a recession-induced health epidemic. But there are troubling developments in children's health and in depression among young adults that could lead to problems down the road.
Sheltering the Storm: American Families in the Great Recession
The decision to have a baby, to form or end a union, and to return to the nest are all family behaviors that might be sensitive to economic downturns. Is the recession indeed changing the family? And are "red" and "blue" families reacting differently?


Editor's Note


Can the Newly-Reelected Obama Save the American Public School?
Under the Obama administration, education policy has shifted in fundamental ways, yet the changes have remained largely under the radar. We've invited two preeminent scholars to a mini-debate on how these changes will play out.

Research In Brief

A Report on New Poverty and Inequality Research
Eviction and its role as a poverty trigger; "intense schools" and their effects on disadvantaged youth; racial disparities in receipt of Unemployment Insurance; and other cutting-edge research.


The Social Contract in an Era of Precarious Work
Where have all the good jobs gone? Even before the Great Recession, secure employment was becoming difficult to find.