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News Delaware One of 10 States in the U.S. to Have an Increase in the Number of Children Living in Concentrated Poverty

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New Data Snapshot with State-by-State Data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation Highlights Progress & Decline in Child Poverty Despite National Economic Growth
In Delaware, 5% of kids are growing up in concentrated poverty

​Five percent of children in Delaware live in concentrated poverty 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.

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Delaware was one of 10 states that saw an increase in the number of children in concentrated poverty from the 2008-2012 estimate to 2013-2017 (from 4 percent to 5 percent), with 10,000 children living in concentrated poverty. "All children deserve to live in communities where they can learn, play and grow," said Janice Barlow, director of KIDS COUNT in Delaware.

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. Alarmingly, more than 8.5 million children live in these settings. That's nearly 12 percent of all children in the United States. 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, such as poor air quality, and toxins like lead. 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.

Find new data on kids living in high-poverty communities in your state
Kids of color are more likely to live in high-poverty neighborhoods. Let's build communities that help all kids thrive

​The “Children Living in Concentrated Poverty, Low-Opportunity Neighborhoods” snapshot shows that urban areas in Delaware have the largest share of children living in concentrated poverty: 36 percent of children living in cities reside in a high-poverty neighborhood. Less than 0.5 percent of kids in rural areas live in such communities, while one percent of suburban kids do. Further, Delaware has higher rates of children of color living in these areas: 15 percent of the state’s African-American kids and five percent of the state’s Hispanic kids live in high-poverty neighborhoods, compared to one percent of the state’s non-Hispanic White kids.

KIDS COUNT in Delaware joins the Casey Foundation on calling on national, state and local stakeholders to act now to help families lift themselves out of these circumstances. Policies at the community, county and state level that can have a significant impact on the lives of children in struggling families include:

  • Supporting development and property-ownership models that preserve affordable housing, such as community land trusts and limited-equity cooperatives.
  • Ending housing discrimination based on whether a person was formerly incarcerated or is using a federal housing voucher.
  • Assisting low-income residents in paying higher property taxes that often come with new development/redevelopment or with a family’s relocation to a more affluent area.
  • Expanding workforce training that is targeted to high-poverty, low-opportunity communities.
  • Requiring and incentivizing anchor institutions to hire locally and contract with businesses owned by women and people of color.
  • Developing and funding small-business loan programs that serve entrepreneurs in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color – or people that traditional lenders tend to reject, such as individuals with poor credit or criminal records.

“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 while,” said Scot Spencer, associate director of advocacy and influence at the Casey Foundation. “Strong neighborhoods foster stable families and healthy children.”

Let's transform high-poverty communities into places of opportunity for kids to play, learn and grow.

September 24, 2019

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  • Biden School of Public Policy & Administration
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  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-1687
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