Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Poverty and our kids

A significant block of an entire generation of children is growing up in poverty.  As a matter of fact, almost 1 in 4 American children lives in poverty today in the United States.  The long term implications of this horrible reality staggers the mind.  Our children and grandchildren will face enormous social/community challenges as these children move into adulthood.  The impact on our economy alone promises to be devastating.  

Consider the facts:

16 million kids live in poverty--lined up hand-in-hand they could stretch across the nation 5 times!

Children of color are over twice as likely to live in poverty as are their white counterparts.

14% of our children reside in overcrowded housing.

Poor children are twice as likely to live in unsafe homes.

6% of these children live in neighborhoods without parks, recreation centers, sidewalks or libraries.

11% of poor children line in areas of concentrated poverty.

Poor children are 6 times more likely to live in unsafe neighborhoods and in neighborhoods with graffiti, dilapidated housing and litter.

Children in poverty are 5 times more likely to repeat one or more grades in school.

82% of 4th graders from low-income families are below proficient reading level.

77% of 4th graders from low-income schools are below proficient reading level.

Children in poverty are 6 times more likely to live in unsafe neighborhoods.

20% of children in poverty NEVER participate in any physical activity.

Children in poverty are twice as likely to miss 11 or more days of school annually.

These children are 13 times more likely to never feel safe in school.

They are twice as likely to be unengaged in school.

They are 7 times more likely to bully other children.

Children in poverty are 3 times more likely to have NO health insurance.

They are more likely to have unmet needs in medical care by 2 times; in mental health care by 3 times; in dental care by 4 times; twice as likely to have chronic health conditions; 5 times more likely for those conditions to be moderately or severely debilitating. 

These children are twice as likely to be overweight or obese.

"The bottom line:  Disparities for children in poverty are numerous and wide-spread.  The ill effects will reach far into the future and across generations.  It is a multifaceted issue that needs multifaceted interventions.  It is the issue of our time!"  Richard NW LeDonne

[This material "lifted" from the work of Richard NW LeDonne.]


Lorlee said...

Most of the conditions listed are very difficult, but No one and no neighborhood needs to live with litter. Litter is simple, pick it up and put it in the trash can, there is no excuse. I live in a VERY modest neighborhood and am always troubled by the amount of litter. And if it isn't picked up, it seems to breed.

Anonymous said...

I live in a mostly black community and we have a very nice community park. If you go there almost anytime, but especially after a weekend of picnics, sports, etc. there is trash all over the ground, in spite of litter containers all around that are not full. Wish somebody would explain this! I wonder if they consider themselves as "victims" and as such can flaunt the rules.

Anonymous said...

Really? After reading the litany of statistics that describe an untenable life that children in poverty are living, you criticized them for littering? Children, whose lives will be forever affected by their food insecurity, low reading levels, poor health outcomes, insecure circumstances deserve better from all of us.

Lorlee said...

Mine comment was a simple musing, but Little things matter--It is like the broken window theory.

I certainly wasn't suggesting that getting rid of the litter will cure anything else, but not having it there, makes a big difference in how the neighborhood looks and feels. So I end up picking it up.

it is a small thing, but small things grow into big things.

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, my family moved around a couple of times, we lived in cotton country and were renters. In the fifties it was hard to find a farm to rent with a decent house. I will always remember how my parents took the most "poverty stricken" looking house and when they got through it looked positively middle class, just doing things that didn't cost a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

Lorlee and Anon9:54,
My point was directed more at choosing the one thing of so many worse things that were a part of the lives of the children in the post. Of course, most of us choose to keep our environment free of litter. And it speaks well of you that you and your parents care(d) about your surroundings. But litter is not necessarily the symptom of "lack of pride/caring about our surroundings. It can be a symptom of "lack of hope" or defeat. And those are the things that affect the children of poverty, and their future, which directly relates to our own.

Anonymous said...

Great stats. I love the Crisis of the day episodes.