Report: More U.S. children are growing up in extreme poverty
A new report highlights a steep rise in the number of children living in concentrated poverty in the nation’s cities and towns – nearly 8 million children, a 25 percent increase since 2000, according to the KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Among the 50 largest cities, Detroit fares worst with 67 percent of children living in neighborhoods where at least 30 percent of residents live below the federal poverty level of about $22,000 per year for a family of four.
The report released in February says 11 percent of the nation’s children are growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods that lack access to critical resources, including quality education, medical care and safe outdoor spaces. Overall, the percentage of children living in concentrated poverty in rural areas (10 percent) and large cities (22 percent) is much higher than for children in suburbs (4 percent), the report says.
Among large cities with the highest rates of children living in extreme poverty, Detroit was followed by Cleveland (57 percent), Miami (49 percent), Milwaukee (48 percent) and Atlanta (43 percent). African-American, American Indian and Latino children are “six to nine times more likely to live in high-poverty communities than their white counterparts,” according to a news release.
Growing up in such straits has dire consequences. “Kids in these high-poverty areas are at risk for health and developmental challenges in almost every aspect of their lives, from education to their chances for economic success as adults,” said Laura Speer, executive director for policy reform and data at the foundation.
The report noted efforts by several cities to reduce childhood poverty, including public-private partnerships to develop mixed-income communities in Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans and San Francisco. It also praised efforts to support high-performing neighborhood schools in Philadelphia and create jobs for inner city residents in Baltimore, Cleveland and Detroit.