The State Of America's Children

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The State of America's Children

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Who Are the Poor Children in the United States?4

The Impact of Poverty on American Children's Health6



The State of America's Children


The Children's Defense Fund or CDF is a national non-profit organization focused on child advocacy to help provide children with necessary resources. One of CDF's goals is to provide regular and high-quality education to all children especially to the poor children in the United States. CDF publishes an annual report titled State of America's Children that details the most current and trusted state and national research on issues facing children and families, including a section on early childhood care and development. This organization educates the state regarding the needs of children, paying special attention to the needs of underrepresented and poor children and those with disabilities. CDF is the leading advocacy group in the United States for children and families.


According to the U.S. Census, 26% of the U.S. population were children 18 years of age or younger in 2008. More than half of these children are white (56%), 14% are African American, and 22% are Hispanic or Latino; only 3% of them were born outside the United States. Documenting the scope of the problem faced by children who are poor, the Children's Defense Fund found that in 2008 almost one fifth (19.1%) of those 18 years old or younger lived below the federal poverty threshold; almost 1 in 5 children living in the United States is poor. Additionally, another 6.3 million children under the age of 18 were found to be extremely poor (8.5%, or 1 in 12 children) while another 4.7 million were also living at or below the federal poverty level and under the age of 5 (22.2%, or 2 in 9 children). Among working families, the number of poor children totaled 9.5 million, or 2 of every 3 poor children. Poverty and health outcomes are inextricably linked, especially among children when considering their growth and development.

Who Are the Poor Children in the United States?

According to the Children's Defense Fund, between 2000 and 2008, there were an additional 2.5 million newly poor children (21.4%), bringing the total of those considered poor to 14.1 million. During that same period, more than 1.6 million children newly experienced extreme poverty (35.5%), bringing the total of youth facing extreme poverty to more than 6.3 million. These figures stand in stark contrast to those documented between 1992 and 2000 when poverty reached a low point of 11.6 million children, while another 4.6 million children faced extreme poverty (both in 2000).

After conducting an analysis of poverty in the United States, it was reported that in 2008, the income of 13.2% of the U.S. population fell below the federally determined guidelines. A further breakdown of national data for the same year by race and/or ethnicity suggests that African Americans (33.2%), Hispanics or Latinos (30.6%), and those classified as “Other” (20.6%) sustained significantly higher levels of poverty than whites (15.6%). Additionally, an increase in the number of immigrants living in ...
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