One in five children lived in poverty in the United States in 2009, and the economic outlook for them and other children from low-income families is increasingly bleak, according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Over the past decade, the official child-poverty rate has increased 18 percent, effectively eliminating all the gains made in cutting child poverty in the late 1990s, the report says.
The report by the Baltimore-based foundation shows it’s not all bad news, though, given that five of the 10 indicators of child-poverty have improved since 2000. The indicators are derived from statistics that the foundation has tracked in all 50 states over the past 20 years.
Among the measures, the five areas of improvement are: infant-mortality rate, child-death rate, teenage-death rate, teenage birthrate, and percent of teenagers who are neither in school nor high school graduates.
Besides the child-poverty rate, other areas that have worsened are the percentage of babies born with low birth weight and the percentage of children in single-parent families. Consistent long-term data were unavailable for the remaining two indicators.
In this latest report, the states with the highest rankings for child well-being across all 10 indicators were New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Massachusetts, while Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi ranked lowest.
The report, in documenting and examining the well-being of American children, points to the recent recession and home-foreclosure crisis as significant setbacks for children and families in the lower half of the income distribution, in particular. In 2009, the most recent year for which data were available, the number of low-income children amounted to 31 million, or 42 percent of children in the United States.
The report also offers six strategies for helping low-income families improve their economic situations.
A version of this article appeared in the August 24, 2011 edition of Education Week as Study Says Outlook Grim for Children in Poverty