Poverty Hurts Children, Yet More Than One In Five Children In New York Lives In Poverty; Child Poverty Decreases In New York For Black Children, Increases For White And Hispanic Youth

For Immediate Release
Friday, September 18, 2015

For More Information Contact:

Samantha Levine
Director of Communications
212-697-0775 office

An analysis of the new Census Bureau data shows that nearly one million children under 18 (936,938 or 22.6%) were living in poverty in New York State in 2014, a slight – not statistically significant – decrease of one percent from 2013. The percent of children under 18 living in extreme poverty in New York declined 1.5% to nearly half a million (423,258). While the rate of Black children under 18 living in poverty in New York decreased by 7.1 percent – a trend that belied the national increase of 10 percent – the rate number of Hispanic and White children living in poverty increased by 1.3 % and 2.5%, respectively. These trends held with children under 6, with Black children in poverty in New York seeing a decrease of 9.4%, White children an increase of 3.3% and Hispanic children the most marked increase of 5.9%.

“Overall, 22.6 percent of children in New York are poor; 10.2% live in extreme poverty,” said Melanie Hartzog, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund-New York.  “Despite some gains, these numbers are extremely troubling, with lifelong consequences for children. Growing up poor decreases the likelihood of a child graduating from high school and increases the likelihood of becoming a poor adult, suffering from poor health, and becoming involved in the criminal justice system. Immediate policy changes – like Governor Cuomo’s proposal to raise the state’s hourly minimum wage to proposal $15 per-hour can lift thousands of children out of poverty and provide economic security to hard working families.”

Because the experience of poverty is traumatic for a child and negatively affects healthy development during critical growth years, CDF-NY works to ensure that working youth and families have access to work that pays, and income supports that secure basic needs like food and shelter. Under current policies, a parent would need to work 117 hours per week at the minimum wage to afford a market-rate two-bedroom apartment in New York for her and her family. When families are unable to meet basic needs despite their best efforts, the State and City must play an active role in safeguarding families’ access to income supports, quality food, housing and child care.

The Children’s Defense Fund’s groundbreaking report, Ending Child Poverty Now, details how the nation can significantly reduce child poverty immediately. If the federal government invested an additional 2 percent of the budget to expand existing federal programs and policies that would increase employment opportunities while providing a fair and livable wage for parents, as well as ensuring that children’s basic needs are met; 60 percent of poor children across the country would be lifted out of poverty and 97 percent of all poor children would benefit. The same policy improvements proposed by the report applied in New York would reduce child poverty by an impressive 73 percent. This impact would be significantly greater, more than 20 percent, than in the other three largest states (CA, FL and TX).

Print Press Release

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