Texas child poverty drops

Texas Child Poverty Drops As Hispanic Child Poverty Drops
But Still Higher than Pre-Recession Levels

Poorest are Texas Children Under Age 6

Click here for New Children’s Defense Fund Complete Analysis for National Poverty.

Houston, TX – The Children’s Defense Fund analysis of new 2013 state data released by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that Texas child poverty rates dropped as Hispanic child poverty dropped but overall child poverty remains at record high levels. Children are the poorest age group, and the poorest are children of color and those under 6.

•    Texas is one of only eight states that experienced a significant decrease in child poverty in 2013. Despite a small drop from 25.8 percent to 25 percent, that lifted 36,104 children out of poverty, child poverty in Texas was still 8 percent higher than in 2007, before the recession began.

•    The rate of child poverty for Hispanic children in Texas decreased by 3.3 percent, but 34 percent of Hispanic children in Texas were still poor. The rate of child poverty for Black children in Texas did not change in 2013.

•    In Texas, and in 20 other states, more than 1 in 4 children under 6 were poor, which means that 628,501 Texas babies through first graders were living in poverty. More than 1 in 10 Texas children were extremely poor.

Poverty is defined as an annual income below $23,834 for an average family of four, or less than $1,986 a month, $458 a week, or $65 a day. Extreme poverty is defined as less than half of the annual poverty level, or less than $11,917 for a family of four.

“Child poverty is a moral blight on America,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund. “That children are the poorest, most vulnerable age group is disgraceful and we must protect them with a national floor of decency. Children of color and those under six during the years of rapid brain development are the poorest. Five years into the recovery poor children in the majority of states still have not benefited. We need to make sure political leaders asking for our votes this campaign season make voiceless, voteless children a priority. If we want to build a strong workforce, military and economy, we can and must end child poverty now.”

The new information also confirms that Texas is still home to the highest rate of uninsured people overall, although there were no significant changes in the percent of uninsured children in Texas. After three years of significant improvements in the rate of uninsured children, progress has slowed.

“Without a doubt, Texas must increase investments in early childhood; and if Texas would expand Medicaid, more uninsured children would be insured as their parents got covered. More than half of uninsured Texas children are eligible for Medicaid, so if more parents could get covered, their children would get covered, too,” said Dr. Laura Guerra-Cardus, Children’s Defense Fund-Texas Associate Director.

The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. For more about our work in Texas, visit www.cdftexas.org.