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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Childhood Poverty in the United States

By Joan Martin

CSMSMagazine Staff Writer 

Children represent the largest population living in poverty in the United States today. According to Cross-Tower, these numbers have increased alarmingly over the last twenty years.  Minority children make up an accurate picture of the typical poor family in spite of popular stereotypes.            

Children are poor because they live in poor families. Just as all families are unique, with their own individual characteristic and histories, poor families have diverse backgrounds and life circumstances that cause them to live in poverty.  Despite a common held perception that the heaviest concentrations of poor people live in large cities, more poor children actually live in suburban areas, non-metropolitan smaller cities, or rural areas.            

It’s hard to characterize the average American family, but even harder not to stereotype the poor.  The popular conception that most poor families are black, inner-city welfare recipients is simply incorrect: “Ghetto Poverty” constitutes less than 10 percent of total U.S. poverty, according to Professor David Ellwood of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (Freedman, 1993, 32).             

Mollie Orshansky, the creator of the Poverty Line, has retired from government. She says, “Why don’t we stop doing research on the right poverty number and do something about poverty?”  The following solutions to child poverty most often mentioned by experts.

  • Invest in school and training programs.
  • Implement family-centered policies.
  • Prevent teen pregnancies.
  • Expand programs to support and strengthen families.

CSMS/CSYF was created to address the needs of poor children and their families. In this organization, we feel that we need to value children more, as well as supporting and strengthening the family. However, even if it is sometimes possible to beat the odds and overcome the adverse conditions associated with poverty, it is simply unfair for us to place the relentless burden of poverty with its inherent risks on the most vulnerable in our society.

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