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Study: An increasing number of Pa. kids living in high-poverty areas

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Study: An increasing number of Pa. kids living in high-poverty areas

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Study: An increasing number of Pa. kids living in high-poverty areas
Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette
Post-Gazette
Thursday, June 6, 2019

By Kate Giammarise

The share of children in Pennsylvania living in high-poverty neighborhoods has been steadily growing, according to new data released Monday by The Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of its annual “Kids Count” state-by-state review. 

Overall, the report ranked the state 17th in child well-being by various measures of poverty, health, education and family and community metrics.

According to its score, Pennsylvania ranks:

● 9th in education, evaluating for early education, reading and math scores, and on-time graduation;

● 12th in health, by how many kids lack health insurance, child death rates, and other health measures. In Pennsylvania, 4% of kids are uninsured, a rate that has declined since 2010, which advocates attribute to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act;

● 20th in economic well-being, using data related to poverty, employment, teen employment, and housing costs;

● 25th in family and community measures, which looks at single-parent families and the number of children living in high-poverty areas, among other metrics.

The report says 323,000 kids — 12% of Pennsylvania children — live in high poverty areas.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is examining communities in the region that have high concentrations of child poverty and how it hurts kids, families and communities, including RankinNorth BraddockWilmerding and Duquesne in Allegheny County and Saltlick Township in Fayette County.

According to the foundation, since the first data book was released in 1990, the share of children living in high-poverty areas — census tracts of 30% poverty or greater — worsened by 71% in Pennsylvania.

“Residents of these neighborhoods contend with poorer health, higher rates of crime and violence, poor-performing schools due to inadequate funding and limited access to support networks and job opportunities. They also experience higher levels of financial instability. These barriers make it much harder for families to move up the economic ladder,” the foundation's report noted.

 

The report, now in its 30th edition, bills itself as “the most comprehensive annual report on child well-being in the United States.”

 

“If we want children to be successful, we must provide access to high-quality child care and pre-K programs to build a solid foundation for learning, and adequately invest in public education,” said Kari King, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, the state grantee for the foundation.

 

Ms. King also touted the importance of full participation in the 2020 Census to make sure the state receives its fair share of federal funds for health and human service programs that aid children, such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

 

Kate Giammarise: kgiammarise@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3909.

 

First Published June 17, 2019, 4:00am

[This article was originally published by the Post-Gazette.]