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More than 1 Million California Children Still Living in Concentrated Poverty

New data snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows modest improvement in Child Poverty Rate


OAKLAND, Calif. —The percentage of children living in concentrated poverty in California remains high, at 13 percent, despite a two percent decrease since the Great Recession, according to Children Living in High Poverty, Low-Opportunity Neighborhoods,” a new KIDS COUNT® data snapshot released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Using the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, the snapshot examines where concentrated poverty has worsened across the country despite a long period of national economic expansion.

The data snapshot also shows that poverty is far more prevalent in our communities of color. For example, half of the Latino children living in concentrated poverty in the U.S. are in just two states: California and Texas. In California, close to 20 percent of Latino kids are living in concentrated poverty. These disparities are a result of racial and ethnic oppression – Latinos have faced discrimination in workplaces, limiting economic opportunities for families.

“In California, no child should be living in concentrated poverty. Latino kids, who make up a majority of our child population, are especially vulnerable,” said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now. “California must continue investing in and creating policies that address the needs of both children and their adult caregivers simultaneously so that families can prosper. Programs and services, like high-quality, affordable child care, build a family’s well-being and allows children and their caregivers to have access to education and a job that can sustain them.”

Growing up in a community of concentrated poverty — that is, a neighborhood where 30 percent or more of the population is living in poverty — is one of the greatest risks to child development. Children in high-poverty neighborhoods tend to lack access to healthy food and quality medical care, and they often face greater exposure to environmental hazards. Financial hardships and fear of violence can cause chronic stress linked to diabetes, heart disease and stroke. And when these children grow up, they are more likely to have lower incomes than children who have relocated away from communities of concentrated poverty.

 Children Now joins the Casey Foundation in calling on national, state and local stakeholders to act now to help families lift themselves out of these circumstances.

“Solutions to uplift these communities are not far out of reach, and they would have significant positive effects both for children and youth and for our country as a whole,” said Scot Spencer, associate director of advocacy and influence at the Casey Foundation. “Strong neighborhoods foster stable families and healthy children.”

About Children Now

Children Now is a non-partisan, whole-child research, policy development and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting children’s health and education in California. The organization also leads The Children’s Movement of California, a network of more than 3,000 direct service, parent, civil rights, faith-based and community groups dedicated to improving children’s well-being.


About the Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org. KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.