Report: Slight increase in youth in poverty

A report recently published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation reports that there are fewer teenagers having babies or dropping out of high school since the start of the decade, but there is a slight increase in the number of youth who are living in poverty with parents who don’t work year round. Health and income conditions for children and teens aren’t improving as much as they did in the 1990’s. Instead, children are “treading water,” said foundation President Doug Nelson. “We’re not talking about a catastrophe or the bottom falling out of anything, but, we’ve still got to do some poverty-rate reduction. We’ve got to make improvements from those 2000 numbers.”

The report measures each state’s progress on 10 statistics, including infant mortality, poverty rates, single-parent families and babies born with low weights. Here are some random facts from the report:

  • Texas has the highest rate of uninsured children in the nation.
  • From 2000 to 2003, the percentage of teenagers who are high school dropouts has decreased from 11% to 8%.
  • According to the report, 31% of children live in a single-parent family.
  • New Hampshire has the lowest overall infant mortality rate, while Mississippi has the highest.
  • The study found that for every one child who dies from an injury, there are 160 children admitted to the hospital for an injury and 2,000 emergency room visits relating to injuries.
  • “In 2003, 13,595 Americans aged 15-19 died, and this amounts to an average of 37 deaths a day,” says the report. “Virtually all of these were preventable deaths.” Accidents account for at least three times as many teen deaths as any other source, including homicide and suicide.
  • While every ethnic group saw a decrease in the number of teenage pregnancies, the birth rate among Latinos is almost double the national average.

In it’s essay, the Annie E. Casey Foundation re-affirms that family, friends and neighbors shape a significant part of a child’s life. They argue that the neighborhood should be a place where parents and caregivers can connect with each other, to help give their kids a safer, healthier childhood.

“At the Casey Foundation, we believe strongly that influencing the quality of family, friend, and neighbor care, particularly in America’s low-income communities, is an opportunity to improve school readiness for the millions of kids who need it the most,” said Douglas Nelson, president of the Casey foundation. “It is an opportunity that our communities – and our nation – can ill afford to disregard.” Interested in learning more? Click here to read the full 188-page .pdf report

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