July 7th, 2010
Children born into poverty are more likely to have negative outcomes and remain in poverty into early adulthood, according to a study released by the Urban Institute.
Nearly half of kids born into poverty will remain persistently poor throughout childhood, meaning they spend at least half of their childhood at or below the poverty line.
And 32 percent of persistently poor children will remain impoverished into adulthood. They are also more likely to become unwed teenaged parents, drop out of high school, or have a spotty employment record – all of which significantly impact their economic status.
“Because poverty status at birth is linked to worse adult outcomes, targeting resources to children born into poverty and their families would help particularly vulnerable people,” the authors of the study note. In Alabama, 22% of Alabama children live in poverty, and over 1 in 10 live in extreme poverty.
And we still have a racial divide: “Black children are roughly 2.5 times more likely than white children to ever experience poverty and 7 times more likely to be persistently poor.”
What can you do?
- Build relationships – mentor a child or young adult. Encourage them to pursue education and work experience, and serve as a positive role model. Sometimes, students just need to hear that success is possible.
- Provide for immediate needs – children who lack basic necessities are less likely to have positive outcomes. For example, hungry children are much less likely to succeed in the classroom.
- Support working parents – 32 percent of children living in poverty have at least one parent who is working outside the home, and over over 45 percent of households headed by a single female live in poverty. These parents may need help with transportation, tutoring, or child care.
Posted by Robyn Hyden