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Fed Chair Janet Yellen Says an Unstable Childhood Makes It Harder to Succeed as an Adult

Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs CommitteeSenate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen testifies during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress," Feb. 14, 2017. Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call,Inc./Getty Images

Poverty is strongly heritable. And Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen knows it.

“Considerable evidence shows that growing up poor makes it harder to succeed as an adult,” Yellen said Thursday in Washington, in remarks reported by CNN. Yellen was talking at a conference on community development.

A recent Fed showed that 10% of people between the ages of 25 to 39 lived in a somewhat unstable environment as children, the Wall Street Journal reports. They worried regularly about having food to eat, having a stable caregiver, and their personal safety in their youth. And now as adults, roughly half of that population are struggling make ends meet, the survey found. Compared to adults who grew up in a more stable childhood environment, these adults also were less likely to have employment and consistent income.