Report: RI has highest child poverty rate in New England


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Of the states in New England, Rhode Island has the highest rate of child poverty, according to a new report by Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, a leading child advocacy group.

The organization presented its newest report, “Child Poverty in Rhode Island,” Thursday morning at a policy roundtable attended by policymakers and state agency leaders, at One Union Station in Providence.

208,700 children live in Rhode Island; in 2013, 21.5%, or 44,923 of them, lived below the federal poverty threshold.

The number of children in poverty has increased since 2006, both in Rhode Island and nationwide. And though “there are signs that it is beginning to decline, Rhode Island’s child poverty rate remains significantly higher than it was prior to the recession,” the report said.

Of all of Rhode Island’s children in poverty, 38% are age 5 or younger, and 53% are white. “While more than half of all poor children in Rhode Island are white, minority children are much more likely to be living in poverty,” the report said.

“Children in poverty, especially those in poverty for extended periods of time, are more likely to have physical and behavioral health problems, live in food-insecure households, experience difficulty in school, become teen parents, earn less as adults, be unemployed more frequently, and fall below the poverty line at least once later in their lives,” the report said.

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