What’s the state of America’s Children?

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The Children Defense Funds's new report – State of America's Children 2014 – is designed to make clear the state of black children in America.

According to the CDF's report, for the first time the majority of children in America under 2 are now children of color. One in three is poor. Black children were the poorest group.

In six states – Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon and Wisconsin – half or more black children were poor and nearly half of all states had black child poverty rates of 40 percent or more.


The U.S. is reaching a tipping point in racial and ethnic diversity.
• For the first time the majority of children in America under age 2 were children of color in 2012 as were the majority of all children in 10 states — Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas — and the District of Columbia. By 2019, the majority of all children nationwide are expected to be children of color.
• Over one-third of children of color under 2 were poor in 2012 during years of rapid brain development.

Child poverty has reached record levels.
• One in 5 children — 16.1 million — was poor in 2012.
• More than 7.1 million children — over 40 percent of poor children — lived in extreme poverty at less than half the poverty level. For a family of four this means $11,746 a year, $979 a month, $226 a week and $32 a day or $8 a person.
• The youngest most vulnerable children were the poorest age group. Over 1 in 4 children under age 5 — nearly 5 million — were poor. Almost half of them — 2.4 million — were extremely poor.

Children of color are disproportionately poor.
• Nearly 1 in 3 children of color — 11.2 million children — was poor and more than 1 in 3 children of color under age 5 — 3.5 million — were poor.
• Black children were the poorest (39.6 percent) followed by American Indian/Native Alaskan children (36.8 percent) and Hispanic children (33.7 percent).
• In six states — Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin — half or more black children were poor and nearly half the states had black child poverty rates of 40 percent or more.
• The largest group of poor children was Hispanic children (5.8 million) followed by white children (5.2 million) and black children (4.1 million).

Children in single-parent families and Southern families are at greatest risk of poverty.
• Children in single-parent families were nearly four times more likely to be poor than children in married- couple families in 2012. Although almost 70 percent of all children lived with two parents in 2013, more than half of black children and nearly 1 in 3 Hispanic children lived with only one parent compared to 1 in 5 white children.
• The South had the highest child poverty rate with 1 in 4 Southern children poor compared to 1 in 5 in the rest of the country.
• Child poverty rates were highest in cities (29.1 percent) followed by rural areas and small towns (26.7 percent) but nearly 2 in 5 poor children lived in suburbs.

Child poverty creates unacceptable child homelessness and hunger.
• Nearly 1.2 million public school students were homeless in 2011-2012, 73 percent more than before the recession.
• More than 1 and 9 children lacked access to adequate food in 2012, a rate 23 percent higher than before the recession.
• In an average month in FY2011, 1.2 million households with children had no cash income and depended only on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to stave off hunger.
• Black and Hispanic households with children were more than twice as likely as white households to lack access to adequate food in 2012.
• Eighty-nine percent of children who relied on free or reduced-price lunch during the school year did not receive meals through the Summer Food Service Program in 2012.

Government safety nets lifted millions of children out of poverty.
• Government safety net programs lifted 9 million children from poverty in 2012 including 5.3 million children through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit and 2.2 million through SNAP.
• Child poverty would have been 57 percent higher in 2012 without government tax credits and food, housing, and energy benefits. Extreme child poverty would have been 240 percent higher.

Income and wealth inequalities are shockingly high.
• The top 1 percent of earners received 22.5 percent of the nation's income in 2012, more than double their share in 1964 and equal to levels last seen in the 1920s.
• The average wealth of white households in 2011 ($110,500) was 14 times that of Hispanic households ($7,683), and 17 times that of black households ($6,314).

Working families are struggling.
• Employment does not guarantee an above-poverty income: more than two-thirds of poor children lived in families where one or more family member worked.
• In no state could an individual working full-time at the minimum wage afford the fair market rent for a two-bedroom rental unit and have had enough for food, utilities and other necessities in 2013.
A person would have needed to work more than two-and-a-half full-time minimum-wage jobs to afford a two-bedroom fair market rental.

Lack of investments deprives children of critical supports in the early years.
• Less than half of 3- and 4-year olds were enrolled in preschool in 2009-2011.
• Early Head Start funding served only 4 percent of the 2.9 million eligible poor infants and toddlers on any given day in FY2012 and Head Start funding served only 41 percent of the 2 million eligible poor 3- and 4-year olds.

The nation's schools fail to prepare millions of children in greatest need.
• Nearly 60 percent of all fourth and eighth grade public school students and more than 80 percent of black and almost 75 percent of Hispanic children in these grades could not read or compute at grade level in 2013.
• Only 78 percent of students graduated from public high school in four years in 2010. That rate was 66 percent for black students, 69 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native students and 71 percent for Hispanic students.
• Over half a million public school students dropped out of grades 9-12 during the 2009-2010 school year.
This will cost taxpayers in the future billions of dollars a year in added benefits and services and foregone income tax revenue.

To view the full report:


0 #2 website 2014-03-04 11:23
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0 #1 Eddie Settles 2014-02-01 16:20
We will not spend our way out of poverty. How then will we do what India and China are doing better than anyone in the world currently? How are those two countries raising chronically poor people at astronomical rates out of poverty? They are not doing it through transfer payments. And the lowest income earners in their societies have been phenomena present in their societies for longer than the US has been a nation. Shouldn't we be asking how they are doing it?

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