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Economic Recovery Still Leaves Kids Behind

Photograph by Getty Images

More children live in poverty in the U.S. now than during the recent recession, which pushed the poverty rate to its highest in a decade and a half. One in five American children now live in poverty, and African-American, American Indian and Latino children make up a disproportionate number among them, according to 2013 data, the most recent available. In 2008, which the recession started, the poverty rate for kids was at 18 percent.

Despite hundreds of thousands of jobs added to the nation's payrolls, too many are low wage, a persistent problem for low-income workers, according to analysis from the Annie E. Casey Foundation in its 2015 Kids Count report. A stagnating minimum wage, the report calls out, makes it particularly difficult to get families out of the depths of poverty.

The unemployment rate for African Americans is 11 percent, 2.4 percentage points higher than what it was before the economic crisis. Almost 40 percent of African American children live in poverty, as opposed to 14 percent of white children. The unemployment rate for Latinos is 6.7 percent.

Children living in areas with a high concentration of poverty means that too many live without adequate support services.

"In 2000, 9 percent of children lived in census tracts where the poverty rate of the total population was 30 percent or more," the report states. "That figure rose to 14 percent for the period from 2009 to 2013."

Increasing amounts of research find that the effects of poverty and the stress of living in it follow kids into adolescence, early adulthood and beyond.

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