Many California Children Live in Poverty

A new study finds that 30 percent of Hispanic children ages zero to six years old in California live at or below the poverty line–threatening the state’s economic strength in the years to come. The rate is higher than the average of 23 percent for all California children.

The report, Prosperity Threatened, was released by the non-profit group The Center for the Next Generation, which focuses on improving opportunities for children and families.

The researchers highlight the stark differences in poverty rates by age, reporting that fewer than one in ten of the state’s senior citizens live in poverty.

They also looked at data by county, finding that Merced County had the highest overall poverty rates and San Mateo County, the lowest.

The group recommends increasing funding to the highest poverty school districts, and urges the state to create a new school financing system. They also say that family income stability can be improved by strengthening benefit programs.

The argument that childhood poverty now threatens economies of the future is becoming a common theme elsewhere in the country. Former Texas state demographer Steve Murdock testified that the challenges facing Latino children require greater investment from the state during a school funding trial last October.

How have you framed this discussion in your own state?

Related Links:

– “Childhood Poverty Threatens California’s Economic Prosperity.” National Journal The Next America. 

– “Prosperity Threatened: Perspectives on Childhood Poverty in California.” The Center for the Next Generation. 

– “We can’t abandon the next generation.” The Sacramento Bee. 

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