Report: One Million CA Kids Live in High-Poverty Neighborhoods

Suzanne Potter | California News Service
A new report shows that in California, close to 20% of Latino kids are living in areas of concentrated poverty. Photo Credit: nestor4u/morguefile

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California has more than 1 million kids living in high-poverty neighborhoods, according to a new report. But that’s actually a 2% improvement over the numbers during the depth of the recession.

new data snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows 13% of the state’s children live in stubbornly high pockets of poverty. Kelly Hardy, senior managing director of health and research at Children Now, said basic living expenses in the Golden State are intolerably high for low-income families.

“Housing is a big piece of the puzzle for poor families in California, as is the immense expense of child care,” Hardy said.

The study looked at the data from 2008-2012, and compared it to the period from 2013-2017 and found that disproportionate numbers of black, Hispanic and Native American children are stuck in neighborhoods where more than 30% of people live under the federal poverty line.

Scot Spencer, associate state director of advocacy with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said the federal government should make major investments in subsidized child care, because right now, there are far too few slots available.

“No children should be living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty,” Spencer said. “The fact that we still have 8.5 million children after multiple years of economic expansion and growth should not be a satisfactory solution for anyone in the United States.”

California has made major efforts to help low-income families over the past several years, expanding Medi-Cal to cover undocumented children, boosting earned income tax credits to Californians by $1,000 a year and raising the amount of CalWorks payments.