Our Future Dims as Child Poverty Jumps

This was the title of an article run recently by the Huffington Post.  You can read the entire piece here.

The article reminds us of the impact that poverty has not only on children, but on the entire nation.  A few points of the case made by the author:

USA Today reported this week that the national poverty crisis now affects 1 out of 5 children in the United States, up from 1 out of 6 just four years ago. This astonishing figure is a sober reminder that the recession isn’t just stretching our safety net, but it’s also threatening the success of the next generation of Americans.

Indeed, childhood poverty in the United States ignites a devastating chain of consequences that leads to equally devastating places:

  • Four-year-old kids living in poverty are 18 monthsbehind their peers. These gaps in early childhood persist throughout a child’s youth, with clear and established links to the high school dropout rate, teenage pregnancy and unemployment.
  • Only a little over 15 percent of fourth graders from poor homes are reading at levels considered proficient by the U.S. Department of Education. According to a recent study from the Casey Foundation, the clearest sign a child will drop out of high school is subpar reading scores in elementary school. Almost half of all high school dropouts are on government assistance and a high school dropout is eight times more likely to be incarcerated.
  • Half of kids living in rural areas — where poverty is at extraordinary levels — are obese or overweight, compared to one third nationally. The obesity crisis puts kids at risk for “adult” diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, stunting their productivity and straining an already exhausted health care system.

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