Research Scientist

Children in Poverty

As of 2017, 15 million children live in families below the federal poverty threshold in the United States, this comprises 21% of all children. However, this threshold underestimates the needs of families, including basic expenses. Taking into account that a family needs double this threshold income to cover such expenses, 43% of children live in low-income families. (National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University)


The 2015 U.S. Census Bureau's poverty threshold is an annual income of $24,550 for a family of four.  One of the largest federal programs to address poverty among children is the National School Lunch Program, which serves nearly 32 million students per school day. Recent, new guidelines promise improvements to the program, focusing on better nutrition while reducing saturated and trans fats and sodium, while increasing whole grains and fresh produce. However, the guidelines can and should do more, including reducing pesticide exposure through organic foods.  

Children in poverty are, overall, more vulnerable to environmental, educational, health, and safety risks. Young children especially are more likely to have cognitive, behavioral, and socioemotional difficulties. Over their lifetime, they are more likely to complete fewer years of school and experience more years of unemployment.
(Source: Child Health USA Report & Federal Interagency Forum on Child & Family Statistics)

 

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