Carsey Institute Report: The Unequal Distribution of Child Poverty: Highest Rates among Young Blacks and Children of Single Mothers in Rural America

Release Date: October 25, 2010
File Size: 242 KB
File Format: pdf

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The authors, researchers for the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, recently released this issue brief to report on the demographic breakdowns of children in poverty in America, with poverty defined as a total income of $21,756 for a family of four. They report on child poverty data by race, age, region, and familial status and then offer policy options which research has found limits the negative effects of poverty.

Following is a summary of key findings from this brief:

  • The highest rates of poverty among all children are among blacks, followed by Hispanics and whites.
  • Poverty rates are higher among the youngest children, who are also more vulnerable to the long-term effects of poverty.
  • Children in rural environments are more likely to live in poverty than children in urban and suburban environments.
  • Single-mother families have much higher poverty rates than their married counterparts.
  • Poverty rates are highest in the rural South and the Midwest, while they are lowest in the Northeast.

Overall, young children of color in rural areas or single parent families are the most vulnerable to the effects of poverty; however, the following policy options have been shown to limit the negative effects of that poverty:

  • Broader access to social programs such as Women, Infants, and Children's (WIC) programs, Medicaid, and home visiting
  • Certain educational programs such as Early Head Start and Head Start which produce positive impacts on children's development and education
  • Increased compliance with child support orders