A series of informational papers developed by experts in the public policy center of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health’s National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) show that young children under age 6 years are particularly vulnerable, with 48 percent living in low income and 25 percent living in poor families. Overall, children under 18 years represent 23 percent of the population, yet they comprise 34 percent of all people in poverty. What does this mean for America going forward and what should we be doing to help these children?
The papers NCCP has released are based on the latest available data from the American Community Survey (ACS). They describe the demographic, socio-economic, and geographic characteristics of these children and highlight critical factors that can differentiate low-income and poor children in various age groups from their less disadvantaged counterparts. Among other key findings:
• Black, Hispanic, and American Indian children suffer much higher poverty rates than white children. Nevertheless, white children comprise the largest share of low-income children and almost one-third of poor children.
• Having college-educated parents greatly reduces the chance that a child will grow up in a poor or low-income family. Still, almost one child in three with at least one parent with some college or additional education lives in a low-income family.
• Working hard does not guarantee escape from poverty in today’s labor market. Almost half of low-income children and more than one-quarter of poor children live with at least one parent employed full-time, year-round. The current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour yields earnings well below the poverty threshold for a family of two with one child.
For the complete series, you can access: Basic Facts about Low-Income Children on the NCCP website.