This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Americans Are Short-Changing the Children

The Census Bureau recently released a set of data on poverty in the United States and the picture is not very pretty. The global recession has raised the percent of American families that are at or below the poverty level not seen since the recession of 1992. In particular, the data show that 22 percent of children are living at or below the poverty level, a pretty staggering figure when you consider what that might mean for the future. Reuters reports the story:
"Children who live in poverty, especially young children, are more likely than their peers to have cognitive and behavioral difficulties, to complete fewer years of education, and, as they grow up, to experience more years of unemployment," the Census said.
In 2010, when the Census survey was conducted, 21.6 percent of children across the country were poor, compared to 20 percent in 2009.
That was mainly due to a rise in the number of children living below the federal poverty threshold, defined as an annual income of $22,314 for a family of four, to 15.7 million from 14.7 million in 2009.
The figures reflect the overall state of the economy. The national poverty rate stands at 15.3 percent and the unemployment rate is at 9 percent some two years after the recession that began in 2007 officially ended.
The number of people living in poverty has reached an all-time high in the United States, despite the country's position as one of the wealthiest in the world. Its gross domestic product per capita of $47,184 was 3,095 percent more than India's $1,477 in 2010.
Not surprisingly, there are important racial/ethnic differences in poverty rates for children:

Overall, "white and Asian children had poverty rates below the national average, while black children had the highest poverty rate at 38.2 percent," it said.
"The poverty rate for Hispanic children was 32.3 percent, and children identified with two or more races had 22.7 percent living in poverty."
There were also some key geographic differences by state, although there are some obvious correlations with the race/ethnicity patterns:
Among states, Mississippi had the highest proportion of children in poverty, 32.5 percent. In Washington, D.C., and in New Mexico, child poverty rates also neared one-third.
New Hampshire has the lowest child poverty rate at 10 percent.
In 10 states child poverty rates are 25 percent or higher, including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

No comments:

Post a Comment