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The Economy Is Getting Better — But These Children’s Lives Are Not

When the Great Recession struck the nation in 2008, it decimated the economy. Many people lost their jobs and homes. Many people struggled to get by for years.

While politicians and Wall Street claim the economy has recovered, Main Street has a vastly different view of its current state.

Today, more than one in five children live in poverty, according to the 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book, an annual publication that assesses child well-being nationally and across the 50 states, as well as in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It uses an index of 16 indicators to rank states on overall child well-being and in economic well-being, education, health and family and community. Of all 16 indicators, the one that carries the most weight and has the largest social impact is child poverty.

The report found that 22% of children live in poverty, up from 18% in 2008. Hardest hit were African-Americans and American Indians, whose rates of poverty had nearly doubled. The South and the Southwest were the regions most impacted by child poverty.

The reasons for this are multitude and complex, but things like slashed social safety nets, decreased incomes, decreased income stability, and single-parent (and therefor, single income) homes have all contributed to the rise in child poverty.

According to the KIDS COUNT report, 1 in 3 children from Mississippi live in poverty. The state with the best overall child well-being, based on indicators including economic standing, education and health, was Minnesota.

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