New report shows rising US child poverty

New report shows rising US child poverty – Published on WSWS, by David Brown, July 31, 2012.

A new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count Databook 2012, 60 pdf-pages, reveals a sharp decline in economic well-being for children in the United States over the past few years.

Among the report’s more stark figures, the number of children living in poverty increased by 1 million between 2010 and 2011. This is an astounding increase for a single year. It is particularly telling given that such a drastic increase in poverty continued well after the Obama administration officially declared that the recession had ended. 

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of children living in poverty soared upward by nearly 30 percent, from 12.2 million to 15.7 million. “The additional 3.5 million children living in poverty is nearly equivalent to the entire population of the city of Los Angeles,” the report notes.

The report gathered data from various government agencies to rate each state on 16 different criteria. The criteria were split into four different categories: economic well-being, family and community, health, and education. All four indicators reveal a dramatic increase in economic stress on children.

A full 22 percent of all children in the US now live below the poverty line, which was a meager $22,113 for a family of four in 2010. The artificially low poverty cutoff leaves out many families that suffer from deprivation. According to the report, “families need an income of roughly twice the official poverty level to meet their basic needs, including housing, food, transportation, health care and child care.” Nearly half of all children, 44 percent, live in low income families that earn less than twice the poverty threshold.

The lack of family income is tied to two related economic indicators that have been exacerbated by the continuing economic crisis: the availability of regular employment and housing costs.

One-third of American children live in households without secure employment, i.e., no parent has full-time, year-round employment. That constitutes a 22 percent increase from 2008 and is reflected in the growing trend of replacing full-time jobs with part-time work.

Employment for teens is also increasingly tenuous. The report shows 9 percent of teens were neither working nor in school. Only 16 percent of youth who graduated from high school after 2008 have full-time work … //

… The lowest ranked state was Mississippi, which is both the poorest state by median income and had the third highest income inequality of all the states in 2008, according to the Economic Policy Institute. By many measures—life expectancy, infant mortality rates, chronic conditions—Mississippi is equivalent to the developing world. Across the South and Appalachia, populations suffer living conditions on par with countries in Africa or Eastern Europe.

As the economic crisis continues, the circumstances facing children and youth will continue to deteriorate. In his introduction to the report, Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of The Annie E. Casey Foundation, describes the dangers of a generation raised impoverished in purely nationalist terms. He is afraid that these youth will be “less able to compete and thrive in the global economy,” thus hurting “the strength of our nation.” In a global ranking of 31 developed countries, the US ranked 27th in measures of economic opportunity and equality.

However, childhood poverty is not a national issue but a global one. According to UNICEF over a billion children worldwide live in poverty. The worldwide effects of the economic crises in the US and Europe amply demonstrate that the social and economic issues in the US cannot be solved within the framework of international competition. (full text).


Annie E. Casey Foundation; About; Kids Count Data Center;

The Rise of the Police State and the Absence of Mass Opposition, on Global, by James Petras and Robin Eastman Abaya, July 25, 2012.

Comments are closed.