* South, West hit the hardest; Northeast fared best
* Study measured population's income losses
* Poverty, college degrees, unemployment top factors
* Economic insecurity on the rise since 1986
By Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON, June 21 The nation's recent
recession had a "broad and deep" impact across the United
States, but certain states such as Florida and California were
particularly hard-hit, according to a report released on
The study, led by Yale University political science
professor Jacob Hacker, found that while the U.S. Northeast was
largely spared from the economic fallout in the years after the
Great Recession, the U.S. South and West were hit harder.
Researchers said their study is the first state-by-state
look at the how the downturn affected economic security and
household incomes. It was paid for by the Rockefeller
Foundation, a global nonprofit organization focused on relieving
States in the Midwest, a large industrial hub, saw a slower
economic erosion from 2008 to 2010, the findings showed. The
recession officially ran from late 2007 to mid-2009.
"No part of the nation was spared. Nonetheless, some states
were hit particularly hard," the report said.
Hacker's team ranked the recession's impact on states by
developing a measurement tool based on government economic data,
called the Economic Security Index.
The index represents the percentage of the population who
experienced a substantial financial loss from one year to the
next. Specifically, it shows the share of Americans who
experienced a financial loss of 25 percent or greater due to
either a decline in income, an increase in medical spending or
States with the worst economic losses from 2008 to 2010 were
Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and California.
Among the states with the least impact were Vermont,
Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and
Researchers found several factors linked to a state's
hardship, including poverty rates, the number of college
graduates and unemployment rates, although the role of
employment was somewhat murky.
Some states such as Mississippi and Arkansas saw higher
levels of insecurity even though they had "relatively modest
declines in employment," according to the report. Other states,
including Michigan and Utah, had lower levels of insecurity
despite higher unemployment.
While the recession hit many states hard, the problem has
been growing for decades, researchers said. Their data looked
back as far as 1986 and found a substantial rise in economic
insecurity since then.
The longer-term findings indicate "the broad vulnerability
of Americans of all walks of life and in all parts of the nation
to large income losses," Hacker and his team wrote.
Although some states fared better than others, "residents of
all states are facing very high levels of insecurity," they
said. "The relatively better performance of a few regions does
not diminish the need for an effective federal response."
(Editing by Leslie Adler)