US Children - 6 Million
(25%) Now Officially
Living In Poverty
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of young children in the United States living in poverty grew to an average of 5.9 million a year in the mid-1990s, with the biggest increases in California, New York and Texas, according to a study released on Thursday. The nation's rate of young child poverty in the years 1992 to 1996 grew to 24.7 percent, up 12 percent from a study of the years 1979 to 1983, according to the report by the National Center for Children in Poverty, a non-profit research center at the Columbia School of Public Health. The study noted three factors -- single motherhood, parental education and parental employment -- as significant causes of such poverty, said Julian Palmer, editor of the study. ``A third of the increase in childhood poverty can be explained by these three factors,'' he said. But he added, myriad factors account for the balance of the increase.

``There's a lot more to the story,'' he said. ``There's no magic bullet.'' More than half the increase in the number of poor children was found in the most populous states of California, New York and Texas, the study found. Specifically, the number of poor children under the age of six in those three states combined rose to an average of 2 million a year in 1992 to 1996, it said. ``Close to three in every ten children under the age of six in those states is living in poverty,'' Palmer said. Rates of children's poverty grew significantly in Oklahoma, Montana, Arizona, West Virgnia and Louisiana, while the rates fell dramatically in New Jersey and Vermont, it said. California, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Texas, West Virginia and the District of Columbia all had rates significantly higher than the national average, it said. The study used the federal government's poverty line, which was an income of $16,036 for a family of four in 1996, Palmer said.

Sightings HomePage