Saturday, October 15, 2005

A portrait of poor children
in Katrina’s path







Terri Dorsey, 10, and Imari Clark, 1, react after a family member is treated for heat exhaustion at the convention center in New Orleans, where they have been waiting for days to be evacuated.
Photo by Associated Press.



New Orleans and the surrounding region have long been home to some of the poorest children in America. And when Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast, some glaring truths about poverty in America were exposed.

Rates of extreme child poverty -- that is, families with incomes less than half of the federal poverty level, or $9,675 for a family of four -- in the Gulf Coast states are among the highest in the country. More than 13% of children in Louisiana and 12% in Mississippi live in extreme poverty. In the United States as a whole, 7% of children live in extreme poverty.

New Orleans has an extraordinarily high rate of child poverty; 38% of children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level ($19,350 for a family of four), compared to a national rate of 17%. One in five households (21%) does not have a car; 9% of U.S. households do not have a car. In the city, 8% of households have no phone service, twice the national rate.

The Gulf Coast children living in poverty are predominantly African-American. In Louisiana, 44% of black children live in poor families, while 9% of white children live in poor families. The numbers are similar for Mississippi (41% of black children, 10% of white children) and Alabama (42% of black children, 11% of white children).

Read the report from the National Center for Children in Poverty here.

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