Nearly one in four children is living in poverty in the United States, a higher percentage compared to the poverty rate during the Great Recession in the late 2000s, according to a new report by a child advocacy group.
About 22 percent of Americans kids, 18.7 million, lived in low-income households in 2013, a four percent increase since 2008, the Annie E. Casey Foundation said in a report released on Tuesday.
Data for 2014 are not yet available, but the report anticipates that the child poverty rate remains at an “unacceptably high level.”
“Although we are several years past the end of the recession, millions of families still have not benefited from the economic recovery,” said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Casey Foundation.
“While we’ve seen an increase in employment in recent years, many of these jobs are low-wage and cannot support even basic family expenses. Far too many families are still struggling to provide for the day-to-day needs of their children, notably for the 18.7 million kids who are living in poverty. We can and must do better: we can make policy choices to lift more families into economic stability,” McCarthy said.
African American, American Indian and Hispanic children were more than twice as likely to live in poverty as white children, the report said.
Nearly a third of children are living in families where no parent has full-time employment, the foundation’s 2015 Kids Count Data Book reported.
Poverty rates were the most severe in Nevada, Louisiana, New Mexico and Mississippi.
“The fact that it’s happening is disturbing on lots of levels,” said Laura Speer, the associate director for policy reform and advocacy at the foundation. “Those kids often don’t have the access to the things they need to thrive.”
The foundation says its mission is to help low-income children in the US by providing grants and advocating for policies that promote economic opportunity.