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New child poverty report, same old story. We must act now.
The numbers are in, and once again they don't bode well for America's children.
U.S. Census figures on poverty and income in 2014, which came out Wednesday, show that the child poverty rate went virtually unchanged between 2013 and 2014. More than 15.5 million American children lived in poverty in 2014, compared with 15.8 million the year before. Statistically, that's no significant difference. But the significance of nearly 22 percent of our kids living in poverty cannot be overstated -- nor tolerated any longer.
Research shows that poverty has catastrophic effects on children's physical, emotional, and cognitive health. Take this new report from the Urban Institute. Analyzing 40 years of data, researchers found that children growing up in poverty are less likely to finish high school, go to college, or stay out of jail than their wealthier peers. And time matters -- the longer kids spend in poverty, the worse their outcomes as adults.
The report concluded that 92 percent of children who are never poor complete high school, compared with only 78 percent of children who are poor for at least one year before turning 18. And children who live in poverty for at least half of their childhoods have even worse outcomes; they're 37 percent less likely than kids who live in poverty for only one year to hold jobs as young adults and 43 percent less likely to earn a four-year college degree by age 25.
Who pays the price for this? We all do. Not only do the child and the family suffer, but taxpayers bear the burden of caring for those who cannot contribute fully to our economy and make it on their own.
Reducing child poverty is critical to Common Sense Kids Action's mission to ensure all kids have access to a high quality education and the opportunity to thrive in the 21st century, regardless of ZIP code or background. Poverty and education are deeply intertwined: The longer kids are poor, the harder it is for them to succeed in school and life, and the longer kids are stuck in poor schools, the more likely it is they will remain in poverty.
Learn more about what we're doing -- and how you can help. Join Kids Action now. Time matters.