Child poverty up in 38 states

Poor families wait for a meal to be served outside the Fred Jordan Charity in the 'Skid Row' district in downtown Los Angeles.

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Inflation ticked up last month. Prices that retailers pay for items they eventually sell to consumers were slightly higher last month because of things like food and energy. The Commerce Department reported the nation's Producer Price Index added 0.002 of a percent. Which is not good news, of course, for children and their parents living in poverty across this country.

A new report out today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation says child poverty is up in 38 states.

Marketplace's Bob Moon reports.


BOB MOON: Even if you think you have no stake in this problem, the study's authors are quick to point out you do. They conclude the social costs of impoverished children are growing. Disadvantaged kids are less likely to be gainfully employed as adults. They lead to higher health and criminal justice expenditures, and drag down the country's economic output.

Curtis Skinner is director of family economic security at Columbia University's National Center for Children in Poverty. He's concerned this jump in childhood poverty is only adding to a destructive cycle.

CURTIS SKINNER: You do see that poor children all too often become poor adults, and then they start their own families and raise up another generation of poor children.

The study warns that government budget cuts are threatening safety-net programs, such as food stamps, unemployment support and foreclosure mediation. And Skinner raises the "perfect storm" analogy.

SKINNER: I think we're a little pessimistic about improvement in the short term. We're just basically trying to help ensure that the safety-net programs are covered as best as they can be -- and it's an uphill battle.

Skinner warns that as government tries to find spending cuts, social programs are a quick fix. But we could end up paying more in the long run.

I'm Bob Moon for Marketplace.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...