Friday, August 19, 2011

Child Poverty on the Rise

Over the last decade, the income and economic security of low income children and families has decreased significantly. Child poverty in the US has increased by 18%. The recession and foreclosures have been the primary causes. In many low income families at least one parent is unable to find work.

From the Christian Science Monitor:
“The news about the number of children who were affected by foreclosure in the United States is also very troubling because these economic challenges greatly hinder the well-being of families and the nation,” said Ms. Speer.

In the United States as a whole, nearly 15 million children (20 percent) live in poverty. A broader definition of economic straits – $43,512 a year, or twice the federal poverty line for a family of four, “a minimum needed for most families to make ends meet,” as Speer puts it – includes 31 million children, or 42 percent of the total.

Child poverty rates vary across the nation. NH has an 11% poverty rate. Nevada, hard hit by the recession has seen a 38% increase in child poverty.

“People who grew up in a financially secure situation find it easier to succeed in life, they are more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to graduate from college, and these are things that will lead to greater success in life,” Stephen Brown, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told the AP. “What we are looking at is a cohort of kids who as they become adults may be less able to contribute to the growth of the economy. It could go on for multiple generations.”

This is a chilling prediction, especially coming from within a country that claims to place great value on children being our future. This is a huge number of children who may well become part of a permanent underclass in a nation often referred to as the wealthiest country in the world, yet there seems to be no national interest in changing the course.

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