More white children in low-income families than any other racial group

I wanted to share this release from the National Center for Children in Poverty, based at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, because of how often we discuss poverty and education.

One dispiriting fact: The highest number of poor kids in America live in the South, which exacerbates our education challenges. We often assume that poverty is a black and white issue, but as our rural teachers here point out, that is untrue. We also assume it is an urban issue, which is also not true in Georgia where we have many poor rural counties.

I have seen that firsthand when I’ve written about health care in rural Georgia. I spent a day at a free clinic in a mountain county where the line to see a doctor stretched around the building, and it was almost all out-of-work white men from the construction industry.  (What was tragic to see was how many were living with chronic pain from injuries and untreated ailments and relied on pain killers.)

Here is the official release:

By the sheer numbers, and contrary to some common stereotypes about the country’s poor, America has more white children living in low-income families than any other race. More than 12.1 million white children live in low-income families; compared to:

–10.7 million Hispanic children;

–6.5 million black children;

–1 million Asian children;

–400,000 American Indian children; and

–1.3 million children of other races.

At the same time, black and Hispanic children are more likely to live in low-income families than white children. Sixty-four percent of black children and 63 percent of Hispanic children lived in such families compared to 31 percent of white children. The statistics are revealed in newly-released fact sheets from the National Center for Children in Poverty, based at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

“Poverty and low-income affects children of all races. The notion held by some that poverty is not a white problem is simply false,” says Vanessa Wight, PhD, demographer at NCCP. “In addition to race, we studied a range of factors associated with children’s experiences of economic insecurity, including their parents’ education, employment, and where they live.”

Some of the other statistics revealed by NCCP:

–Children represent 24 percent of the overall U.S. population, yet they comprise 34 percent of all people living in poverty.

–There are more than 72 million children under age 18 in the United States: of those, 31.9 million live in low-income families (44% of all children); and 15.5 million live in poor families (21% of all children). Low income ($44,700 for a family of four) is defined by NCCP as being twice the official federal poverty level ($22,350 for a family of four).

–The percentage of children in low-income families varies by where they live: it’s highest in the South, where 48 percent of children live in low-income families, compared to:

–45 percent of children in the West;

–42 percent in the Midwest; and

–36 percent of children in the Northeast.

–A little more than half (51 percent) of children in rural areas live in low-income families, compared to 42 percent in urban areas.

“Winding up in a low-income or poor family does not happen by chance,” says Wight. “These data help us understand who America’s poor really are, and to recommend better policies aimed at helping them.”

One of the things NCCP recommends are strategies that help parents succeed in the labor force, which will in turn, help their children. “Low earning workers need higher wages but policies such as earned income tax credits and child care assistance are critical to supporting income growth for low-wage workers,” says Dr. Wight. “These workers also need access to benefits that many higher-wage earners enjoy, , such as health insurance and paid sick leave.”

Click here for the complete fact sheet “Basic Facts About Low-income Children.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

134 comments Add your comment

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 14th, 2012
12:48 pm

Sadly the “I.Q.” and “discipline” crowd could not care one bit about this. It upsets their paradigm.

Frankie

February 14th, 2012
12:50 pm

–The percentage of children in low-income families varies by where they live: it’s highest in the South, where 48 percent of children live in low-income families, compared to:

–45 percent of children in the West;

–42 percent in the Midwest; and

–36 percent of children in the Northeast.

maybe my math is off but if 48% of children in low income families live in the south wouldn’t that mean that 52% of the other children in low income families live in these other areas (West, Mid west and North east), I assume there are n children living in low income families live in the south west..
THese numbers do not make sense to me…

What are you talking about?

February 14th, 2012
12:52 pm

“Sadly the “I.Q.” and “discipline” crowd could not care one bit about this.

Whatever that means.

What are you talking about?

February 14th, 2012
12:53 pm

“By the sheer numbers, and contrary to some common stereotypes about the country’s poor, America has more white children living in low-income families than any other race. ”

Then again, the cost of living is cheaper in the south. Are these low income families on welfare? If not, what’s the point of this article?

AdoringFan

February 14th, 2012
12:54 pm

@ Frankie,
I think it’s that 48% of the children that live in the South live in low-income families.

Pluto

February 14th, 2012
12:58 pm

I guess affirmative action is having its desired effect.

oldtimer

February 14th, 2012
12:58 pm

After a career teaching in Dekalb, Atlanta, and Clayton County, I thought I had seen poor children. For five years my husband had a job in a small county in Middle TN. Boy, were my eyes opened. And it included few minorities… The high schoolers ate every bit of breakfast and lunch. They did not buy all the extras I had seen most of my life. I was working with remedial students. If i brought homemade goodies or other treats….fresh fruit….they actually thanked me for it. They were polite and a joy to teach and yes all but one or two would pass the 10th grade LA TCAP which I worked with. So, poverty does cross all areas. AND if youhave heat, plumbing, air, two cars, TV and video games, money for extras at school, and good shoes…..you might not be so oor after all.

Oh Intown Writer...

February 14th, 2012
12:59 pm

3schoolkids

February 14th, 2012
1:04 pm

Anyone see Charles Murray on Charlie Rose yesterday? He was bemoaning the loss of the middle class in America. I don’t think they are missing, I think they’ve been restructured into Low-Income. While I realize that $44,700 year income is not a huge amount of money, for many of the years my family was living on one income we would have been classified as “low-income”. It didn’t seem like low-income to us. And, if one is living in an area where the cost of living isn’t so high that low-income goes a lot further. Low-income in New York is a lot different than low-income in Georgia.

Nick

February 14th, 2012
1:13 pm

An interesting component of the article was the line which refers to strategies that help parents succeed in the labor force. While there is no doubt in the validity of the piece, I’d be interested to read more about this parents portion. Parents implies two people, but I may be overreaching here……I’m guessing statistics and studies will show that poverty households with single-income families often have children who struggle more in school than students with two parents at home …..this is a Get Schooled Blog, so I’m trying to relate such.

Nevertheless, is it not a stretch to correlate socio-economic status (free/reduced lunch) with single-families with minorities (Black/Hispanic) and the fact they are not as successful (IE – graduation) than their white colleagues who may be home with two parents? I guess the connection I’m trying to make is that students with parents of poverty have a greater shot of succeeding in school that students from a single parent household.

In addition, money is (could be) the great equalizer…..wherever these folks live (you pick it – urban, rural, etc) they most likely do not have access to the resources money can by. Weather it be via a tax based revenue or any ability to raise funds, money helps. It is not the be all, end all but it helps.

Just food for the thought….I realize I’m cherry picking one line in the article, but thought I would write today….

Tom G

February 14th, 2012
1:14 pm

This is terrible to say, but the areas with the highest number of black and hispanic kids, are the ones with the lowest scores! It is not that these kids are the dumbest, it is the family enviroment that they come from. Family guidance and discipline are very important home values. Two of my adult children are teachers and they deal with these issues on a daily basis.

Kalif

February 14th, 2012
1:14 pm

“Low earning workers need higher wages but policies such as earned income tax credits and child care assistance are critical to supporting income growth for low-wage workers,…”

There’s a helpful breakthrough finding, poor people need more money. You’d think a PhD demographer could do a bit better than just stating the obvious.

Frankie

February 14th, 2012
1:15 pm

yeah thank i got it after i read it again,

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 14th, 2012
1:15 pm

@What are you talking about?

Ignorance is bliss isn’t it?

Chris

February 14th, 2012
1:17 pm

Can you add a note as to which of these poor families rely on entitlement programs and which are working poor? There is a big difference and it has a ripple effect across the entire country. The working poor are contributing, and not taking. The welfare and food stamp recipient poor families contribute nothing and are in a way, stealing from the working poor. More often than not, the working poor are in rural areas and the entitlement recipient poor are in urban areas.

This article really is pointless unless you uncover these statistics. The statistics stated in this blog are empty numbers without going a step further to find out where these people do and don’t get their income. Our economy cannot afford any more handout families.

Fletch

February 14th, 2012
1:18 pm

How could that be? Don’t we faithfully vote Republican year after year? Shouldn’t we have been “trickled down” on by now?

Frankie

February 14th, 2012
1:19 pm

cost of living in the south is not cheaper in the south, the income level is lower, the prices of milk are just as high in the south as in the north, east and west.

Chris

February 14th, 2012
1:20 pm

Fletch –

The south has one of the largest minority and democratic populations. You can’t “trickle down” when about half of the people in a state are living off of the other half. The tipping point is here. By voting democratic, you’re only speeding up the process.

Nuschlerclark

February 14th, 2012
1:21 pm

Half of all children have this low of a start! Incredibly sad. But the South will still vote for a Republican. Republicans who have sworn to slash all “entitlement” programs. Republicans who want to end Social Security and Medicare…After all, health care is a privilege NOT a right, isn’t it? After all poor people are just lazy! Right? And good ole Newt wants to put these nine year olds to work as janitors in the school since they have no role models who go to work each day. No Newt. The working poor do get up to work every day but minimum wage at $7/hr creates a salary of $14,000/year WITHOUT health benefits, pensions or $500,000 Tiffany accounts for Callista! How will these kids even get accepted to college much less pay the ever increasing tuition?
The myth that you only have to work hard to become a multimillionaire is just garbage. MIttens happened to have a very wealthy father who sent Mittens to IVY League schools. Mittens hasn’t even worked one day in the last two years and he STILL made 50.1 million dollars and was taxed at 15%. Poverty is a vicious cycle, but as it said in the newspaper on Sunday it’s the middle class who are using Medicare for their grandparents, tax credits for the kids and they get free breakfast AND free lunches for the children. But they sure hate socialism! What do they think these programs are??
We have the most powerful military in the world, spread out over 65 different countries. We put more money into our military than the next ten countries COMBINED! WHY? And why is this a source of pride? Mine is bigger than yours contests??
There is more of a gap between CEOs and the lowest paid worker right now than at any other time in our history…and Southerners are blinded to all of this as they listen to Rush Limbaugh and watch Faux News…and THAT is the worst part. People do not think for themselves anymore. People don’t read and people don’t write..and texting and emailing or watching “Dancing With The Stars or “The Voice” do not count!

Frankie

February 14th, 2012
1:23 pm

Isn’t Social Security a form of welfare, I see americans fighting for that idbit of money to retire on…

Jerry Eads

February 14th, 2012
1:23 pm

I think I’ve finally got this figured out. Most Republicans (never, ever to be confused with conservative) decry “Obamacare” and “Romneycare.” Poor people tend to vote Democrat. Republican policies have created the radical increase in the gap between poor and rich, with the percentage of poor increasing exponentially. The only solution for Republicans to keep power is to decrease the number of poor people. SO, all they need to do is deny healthcare to the poor. Problem solved.

Fletch

February 14th, 2012
1:29 pm

Actually, the fact that there are more white children in low income families shouldn’t be a surprise. Afterall, the folks in the Southern states continue to vote against their own interests time and time again.

Chris

February 14th, 2012
1:32 pm

Frankie –

Social Security was intended to be a retirement savings plan. We pay into it with our paychecks. Unfortunately, that money gets borrowed to pay for other programs for people who pay nothing into the system. You might want to take an economics class so you can actually see where the money goes and doesn’t go.

On a different note, if people are lazy and don’t want to work, that’s fine. They should not get a dime of mine, though. I’ve worked very hard just to come up from poverty to the middle class to allow any more of my hard-earned money to go away.

People can achieve far more when they HAVE to. If people were in danger of losing homes and starving, they’d be far more likely to go get a job – ANY job. If all they have to do is sit at home and do nothing, they’ll probably be comfortable doing that for life and passing it down to their impoverished children.

Chris

February 14th, 2012
1:33 pm

Fletch -

You’re obviously politically and economically confused. You just don’t get it.

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 14th, 2012
1:34 pm

@Paul

Why did you include a link to a racist, “Stuff Black People Don’t Like” website? What does it have to do with this thread?

bev

February 14th, 2012
1:36 pm

Saddening to say the very least!! A majority of these children reside in a single parent home, usually with a single mother. Now, answer me this, why do men get paid more even when women are more educated and better qualified for a job? It’s time for a change!!

Chris

February 14th, 2012
1:38 pm

Dr. -

How can it be racist if it is based on facts? I would think things like the “Black Caucus”, “Universoul Circus”, and “United Negro College Fund” are far more racist. They exclude all others. The website Paul linked is just a compilation of facts that you are probably too scared to read. The very fact that you have to put the word “Black” in your moniker implies your own racism.

Pardon My Blog

February 14th, 2012
1:39 pm

So instead of talking about the real issues of this article, it is being turned into a political soapbox??!! One blogger asked the real question, what are the real numbers behind some of this? home environment? discipline? working poor or taking poor? Yes, there are low-income students from all races but some will succeed while others will fail mainly due to lessons first learned at home. And be mindful that they live in all areas, not just the “inner city”. That is why HOPE should not be designated just for students from a certain area, to do that would be racist in and of itself.

Chris

February 14th, 2012
1:39 pm

Bev -

Amen! I was raised in poverty by my single mother. It wasn’t fair for her to work just as hard and make half as much. Things are changing, but I think it should happen much more quickly for women that in has.

Pluto

February 14th, 2012
1:40 pm

@ Fletch … the problem with being a smug and arrogant liberal is your smugness and arrogance? Delta is ready when you are.

Leah

February 14th, 2012
1:55 pm

At what point does pride come before feeding your children. If you are unemployed or under-employed, feeding your children and providing shelter should be a no-brainer. Every now and then we all need a hand up. Race has only now become an issue since Romney stated he doesn’t care worry about the poor. As long as the poor are minorities, the stats are ignored (unless used to demagogue a particular group of people).
Maybe Gingrich, Santorum, and Romney should re-think their position when it comes to cutting programs.

Chris

February 14th, 2012
2:01 pm

Leah –

Cutting programs puts money back in workers’ pockets and makes more workers out of would-be handout recipients. It’s common sense.

Fletch

February 14th, 2012
2:03 pm

Pluto – “@ Fletch … the problem with being a smug and arrogant liberal is your smugness and arrogance? Delta is ready when you are.”

The problem with assuming is that you usually end up with the wrong conclusion.

I’m not a “liberal”. And, as to “Delta being ready when you are”, you are wrong again. I actually live in Montana. However, thanks to your obtuse posting, I now fully understand why the South is in such bad shape. Thank you for clarifying what most of the country already suspects.

Flora

February 14th, 2012
2:13 pm

Too many people have babies then try to figure out how to support them. The message has yet to get out that first you have a spouse, job, home,financial security and a plan for sustaining yourself in the future THEN you have the children. It is incredibly irresponsible and SELF- CENTERED to think a baby will give you love and make your life worthwhile. Adoption needs to become a more encouraged option. The U.S. spends $14 Billion on Title 1 programs. Enough!

Dr Dave

February 14th, 2012
2:17 pm

In reference to the social security benefits…My wife and myself , along with employers,,have contributed over a quarter of a million dollars over the last 45 yrs..we have never collected any kind of handouts or freebies..this IS our entitlement

Sneezy

February 14th, 2012
2:24 pm

On the PLUS side, Georgia has the richest, most corrupt politicians in the South. So, you know…kinda inverse parallel relationship there.

Pluto

February 14th, 2012
2:27 pm

@ Fletch If throwing rocks at folks from the South gets you through the day, then by all means, have at it. Obtuse, that’s a good one.

AMD

February 14th, 2012
2:31 pm

Folks, you see the sign. This is the beginning of the decline of the great USA as we know it today. We are all responsible for our own action.

Negatory to the Lowest Common Denominator

February 14th, 2012
2:33 pm

Just deport the 10 million wet backs! Send J with them!

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 14th, 2012
2:35 pm

@Chris

“Cutting programs puts money back in workers’ pockets and makes more workers out of would-be handout recipients. It’s common sense.”

You get your talking points from faux news I see. Patiently awaiting examples of where cutting programs led to job growth….

Dr Dave

February 14th, 2012
2:37 pm

Chris….you keep hitting the nails on the head…good job!!!!

Joesnopy

February 14th, 2012
2:46 pm

We are becoming a third world country. We will look like south america in about 5 years. The problem is the global markets. We can not compete until everyone in America income goes down by at least 30 to 40 percent. It is happening to the South as I type because of the education level down here in the good old South. You use to be able to walk into a shop without a high school degree and work your way to the top if you worked hard but now you can not because all those jobs were shipped to China and India.

Dr Dave

February 14th, 2012
2:47 pm

The sad thing here is just a few folks see this stuff…l..think the AJC should publish these sessions…2 or 3 times a week maybe….call it morning coffee clatter or something like that…Im an old newspaper guy..I worked for them once..Ill help

Frankie

February 14th, 2012
2:47 pm

@chris….you sound like your incestial boyfriend Newt or is that your daddy…
You act like you came from poverty with a dirt floor and no windows with only a mule to take you to and from town….
Yeah SS may have started out as retirment plan but now includes unemloyment…hey if you don’t want your unemployment check when your company fires yu don’t take it out on the rest of us…
I work just as hard as you do for my money nad have the commomn sense not to rely on republicans to do anything but line their own pockets with other peoples hard earned money…
That’s my economic lesson to you…moron…

Leah

February 14th, 2012
2:48 pm

Chris –

I wonder how many of the individuals noted in these stats had your attitude prior to losing their jobs?

Life has a way of showing us that sometimes circumstances are beyond our control. It’s nice to know that help is available when needed.

Frankie

February 14th, 2012
2:50 pm

@FLora…I am sure you did it in exactly that order…

td

February 14th, 2012
2:56 pm

$7.25 (minimum wage is the US) per hour job for unskilled labor makes $15,078.84. If you have two parents then you are making $30,157 per year. $30 thousand per year is the minimum two parent should be able to make to take care of a family. Anyone that wants to actually work at McDonald’s will be making over $8 within a year. I know a lot of households where both parents work for Publix or Kroger and they each make $9 to $10 dollars an hour and they have a comfortable living.

The is when you live in a single parent home then the one person must make $14.50 per hour to break even and this is not an attainable amount for people with no skills. The real problem is single parent households. When we as a society can see this reality and are willing to say enough is enough then we will get a handle on the poverty problem in American.

Chris

February 14th, 2012
3:03 pm

For all of you who reply to my comments with personal attacks or assumptions about me, thanks. If you have facts for rebuttal, I’d like to hear them.

Dr. -

No I actually do not get my news from Faux (as you put it) News. I am an independent thinker. I take facts and assimilate them with common sense to come to my own conclusions.

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 14th, 2012
3:07 pm

@Chris

Still waiting for those “facts” that you talked about earlier. Nice straw man you’re trying to setup but us “independent thinkers” aren’t fooled one bit…;)

Chris

February 14th, 2012
3:07 pm

Leah –

As someone who has worked my way up to the middle from poverty with hard work and dedication (with a very large student loan balance), I can tell you that it’s definitely nice to have help when needed. That is what family is for. That is what volunteering and community is for. It is not up to the government to decide how much of my money I should give to those who do not fend for themselves.

And for the narrower thinkers, to your point, don’t you think your question applies in both directions? Those that have want to keep. Those who do not have want what the others have. The problem is that about 90% of the population is on one side or the other. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self Reliance” should be mandatory reading for everyone. You could learn a lot.