Kids of Color More Likely to Live in High-Poverty Neighborhoods Now Than During Great Recession

Posted May 11, 2018
A Latino mom and daughter

More African-Amer­i­can, Lati­no and Amer­i­can Indi­an chil­dren are liv­ing in high-pover­ty neigh­bor­hoods despite a ful­ly-restored econ­o­my surg­ing to near-record levels.

The inequities in com­mu­ni­ty resources and oth­er oppor­tu­ni­ties for healthy child growth were high­light­ed in the lat­est Race for Results: Build­ing a Path to Oppor­tu­ni­ty for All Chil­dren released by the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion. The 2017 edi­tion of the report is the sec­ond in a series. It brings to light the extent to which, nation­al­ly and in each state, we are not doing well by our kids.

When the first Race for Results report was released in 2014, 50% of African-Amer­i­can chil­dren, 51% of Amer­i­can Indi­an chil­dren and 57% of Lati­no chil­dren lived out­side high-pover­ty neigh­bor­hoods. That is, they lived in neigh­bor­hoods where the pover­ty rate was less than 20%.

In the 2017 report, how­ev­er, few­er of these chil­dren lived in low-pover­ty neigh­bor­hoods. African-Amer­i­can (45%) report, Amer­i­can Indi­an (47%) and Lati­no (53%) chil­dren all were less like­ly to live in a low-pover­ty environment.

Mea­sur­ing the con­cen­tra­tion of pover­ty among chil­dren is one of 12 key indi­ca­tors of child well-being and healthy devel­op­ment in the Race for Results Index. Research shows that chil­dren are more like­ly to thrive and live pro­duc­tive, healthy lives in neigh­bor­hoods with strong social and cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions and resources to pro­vide safe neigh­bor­hood set­tings and qual­i­ty schools.

The coun­try was at the tail end of a crush­ing eco­nom­ic reces­sion when the last report was pub­lished. The over­all pover­ty rate has since lev­eled and was trend­ing down­ward as the unem­ploy­ment rate and stock mar­ket have rebounded.

Despite the recov­ery, the per­cent­age of chil­dren liv­ing in low-pover­ty neigh­bor­hoods declined in that four-year peri­od for all racial groups as seen in the lat­est Race for Results. Still, African-Amer­i­can, Lati­no and Amer­i­can Indi­an chil­dren saw the steep­est declines dur­ing that peri­od and still face greater bar­ri­ers to oppor­tu­ni­ty than their white and Asian-Amer­i­can counterparts.

Con­cen­trat­ed pover­ty is putting chil­dren of col­or, par­tic­u­lar­ly, on a per­ilous path with detri­men­tal long-term impacts,” said Lau­ra Speer, asso­ciate direc­tor of pol­i­cy reform and advo­ca­cy at the Casey Foun­da­tion. But smart poli­cies and cul­tur­al­ly-com­pe­tent insti­tu­tions can lev­el the play­ing field for chil­dren and pro­tect their well-being.”

Race for Results out­lines sev­er­al tar­get­ed rec­om­men­da­tions designed to keep fam­i­lies togeth­er and make com­mu­ni­ties stronger for all children.

Read Race for Results

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