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

Posted May 10, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

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