According to recent data releases there has been a significant decline in economic well-being for low income children and families. The official child poverty rate, which is a conservative measure of economic hardship,
increased 18 percent the last several years. This increase means that 2.4 million more children are living below the federal poverty line. Data also reveals the impact of the job and foreclosure crisis on children..
- Three areas have worsened: the percent of babies born low-birth weight, the child poverty rate, and the percent of children living in single-parent families.
Six strategies that can help move low income families onto the path for prosperity:
- Strengthen and modernize unemployment insurance (UI) and promote foreclosure prevention and remediation efforts.
- Preserve and strengthen existing programs that supplement poverty-level wages, offset the high cost of child care, and provide health insurance coverage for parents and children.
- Promote savings and asset protection and help families gain financial knowledge skills.
- Promote responsible parenthood and ensure that mothers-to-be receive prenatal care.
- Ensure that children are developmentally ready to succeed in school.
- Promote reading proficiency by the end of third grade.
Census Bureau data shows:
- Over one in five children—16.4 million—were poor in 2010. Over 5.5 million under five were poor.
- Poverty is defined as an annual income of below $22,314 for a family of four – $1,860 a month, $429 a week, or $60 a day. Extreme poverty, defined as an annual income of less than half of the poverty level, means$11,157 a year, $930 a month, $215 a week, or $30 a day for a family of four.
- Forty-five percent—7.4 million—were extremely poor; 2.6 million children under five were extremely poor.
- Children of color were disproportionately poor: 4.4 million Black children—more than one in three—and 6.1 million Hispanic children—one in three—were poor. Five million White, non-Hispanic children—more thanone in ten—were poor.
- Children of color slid deeper into extreme poverty, and the younger they were the poorer they were. One in four Black and one in six Hispanic children under 5 were extremely poor.
- Sixty-five percent of poor families with children under 18 have at least one worker.
- More than 60 percent of all poor children—nearly 10 million—lived in single parent families.
- Married couple families with children were not immune; almost 9 percent of all married couples with children under 18 years old were poor.
- To give perspective on America’s shame:
- The number of poor children is nearly the same as the combined populations of the states of Michigan and Arizona.
- The number of poor Black and Hispanic children is slightly more than the entire population of Michigan and slightly less than the population of Ohio.
- The number of poor infants, toddlers and preschoolers is larger than the entire population of the state of Minnesota.
Sergei Shushunov has a blog about life, spirituality and poverty thanks to Local Business Listings Services.