Thursday, August 18, 2011

Childhood Poverty Hits 20% in California

Today John Fensterwald - Educated Guess published data on poverty rates among California’s youth. While not surprising, considering the state of the economy and the high rates of childhood poverty that already existed prior to the start of the Great Recession, an appalling one in five California children is now living in poverty, an increase of 2% from last year. For African-American and Hispanic kids, the numbers are higher, 29% and 28%, respectively.

As high as these numbers are, the situation could be (and probably will become) much worse, as 34% of children of California children are living in families where no parent has full-time employment. 51% African-American children live in families with no full-time bread-winners. Furthermore, the latest data do not take into account the effects of two straight years of state budget cuts to health care, education and child care.

While there were some bright spots in the report, overall, children poverty is growing, while support services are shrinking, both of which will likely worsen educational outcomes. Some of the improvements included declines in teen births, teen deaths and teen truancy. However, simply getting to class is only part of the picture. Students who show up regularly, but who are hungry, have untreated medical conditions or who are behind in credits or reading and math skills, will still struggle in class and each of these conditions is exacerbated by poverty.

The following links shows the breakdowns by county for most of the indexes discussed in the report.

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