Number Of Texas Children In Poverty Rises

The number of Texas children who live in poverty has nearly quadrupled since 2007 — according to a new report by the Washington, D.C. based child advocacy group first focus. The child poverty rate in Texas is worse than the national average.


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The First Focus report was written by researchers with the Urban Institute and examines three key factors: the number of children living with an unemployed parent, the number of children on food stamps and the number who live in families under the federally-defined poverty rate.

First Focus President Bruce Lesley says the national child poverty rate is 22 percent.  The Texas rate is 26 percent.

“Having more than one in four kids in the state living in poverty is a deep concern, particularly since when you look at the Census Bureau data on where all the growth in the number of kids in this country are — Texas is disproportionately represented in that because Texas is such a fast-growing state.”

One of the most startling numbers for Texas is the increase in the number of children who have an unemployed parent.

“In 2007 the number of Texas children with parents who were unemployed for six months or more — so you know long-term unemployment — was around 57,000 and today in 2012 that number is over 207,000.”

That’s a 263 percent increase in the number of kids who have parents on long-term unemployment.  

While Texas ranks among the worst 15 states for child poverty, it’s not at the bottom of the list. That spot goes to Mississippi with a 34 percent poverty rate.

New Hampshire has the best rate, with just 12 percent of kids living in poverty there.

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

News Director

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads news coverage for Houston Public Media across broadcast and digital platforms. Ramirez is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Before becoming News Director, Ramirez held the position of Executive Producer for Daily News, leading daily and breaking news coverage, helping...

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