Child poverty rates improve slightly in California, but still remain high
- New data released by KidsData and the Public Policy Institute of California indicate that improvement in California's economy has resulted In a drop in the percentage of children living below the state poverty line, from 24.4% to 22.8% since 2015, Ed Source reports.
- The poverty threshold in California is $30,000 for a family of four because of the state’s higher cost of living; roughly 2 million children in the state still live below that threshold.
- Statewide, only 5.1% of children now live in deep poverty — below half of the poverty income threshold —compared to 5.8% in 2013, an indication that social safety nets are working, some experts say.
Recently released U.S, Department of Agriculture data on poverty indicates that the rate of child poverty in the U.S. dropped 3% from 2015 to 2016 — small progress, but progress just the same. There are geographical differences, however. About 25% of rural children are poor compared to about 20% of urban children and at least 41 counties in the U.S. had more than 50% of their children living in poverty.
Poverty is also still a grave concern for educators, who must deal daily with the effects of poverty on learning. There are direct effects of poverty, such as homelessness and lack of proper nutrition, but the indirect effects as well. These may include unintended racial segregation and trauma.
Schools can take measures to lessen the impact of poverty, but most of these efforts take strong community support and partnerships in order to be successful. One approach is to partner with community colleges or other organizations to offer English as a Second Language classes and GED classes in their classrooms after hours. In this way, parents may be able to improve their job skills at a more convenient location. Ultimately, the best thing schools can do to improve poverty long-term is to provide a good education for students and put them on the pathway to success.