Monday, May 04, 2015

More than 30% of non-metro children under 6 living in poverty, USDA study finds

More than 30 percent of children under 6 in non-metro areas were living in poverty in 2013, compared to 23.9 percent in metro areas, says a report by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Overall, 26.2 percent of non-metro children were poor in 2013, compared to 21.3 percent of metro children. (For a Daily Yonder interactive county-level map of poverty rates click here)

"The deep poverty rate (when a child’s family has income less than half of their poverty income threshold) for non-metro children under 6 was 14.2 percent in 2013, compared to 11.0 percent for metro young children," says ERS. "Another 16.1 percent of non-metro young children were moderately poor (from one-half up to equal to a child’s family poverty income threshold) in 2013 and 27.6 percent were low-income/nonpoor (from equal to up to twice a child’s family poverty income threshold)."

ERS found that 48 counties had child poverty rates 50 percent or higher, with 41 of those counties in non-metro areas, 33 in the South and 10 in Mississippi, mostly in the Delta region. East Carroll County, Louisiana, had the highest rate, at 67.1 percent, followed by Clay County Georgia (65.2 percent), and Holmes County, Mississippi (62.1 percent).

"Child poverty is more sensitive to labor market conditions than overall poverty," the report said. "Scarcity of jobs, physical isolation and lack of employment and transportation services often pose greater earnings challenges for non-metro parents than for metro parents. Further, non-metro parents tend to have less education and a higher incidence of underemployment than do metro parents, putting their children at higher risk of being poor." (USDA map)

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