Poverty growing for Delaware children

The number of Delaware children in poverty has nearly doubled over the past 20 years, according to the just released Kids Count Fact Book.

More than 21 percent of Delaware children were living in poverty from 2012 to 2014. In 1992 to 1994, the child poverty rate in the state was only 12.7 percent.

“Poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s well-being,” the Kids Count report states. “Nearly 15 million children in the United States, over 20% of all children, live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.” Kids who live in poverty are more likely to drop out of school.

The Fact Book is a massive compendium of statistics that aims to provide full details on the state of Delaware’s children. While the poverty rise is an area of concern, there are plenty of other areas where life is improving for Delaware children.

Whether it is fewer children being poisoned by lead or better child restraint standards, “Kids Count continues to provide better opportunities for our youngest citizens,” said Governor Markell in a letter included in the report’s introduction.

Other positives include a lower teen pregnancy rate. From 2008 to 2012, there were 16.2 births per 1,000 teen girls. That’s a decline from 20 years ago when the rate was more than double at 33.5 births per 1,00 teen girls.

The number of young people being held in juvenile facilities is also down. As of 2014, 2.7 young people per 1,000 were incarcerated, compared to 5.2 per 1,000 two decades ago.

“In spite of these great strides that we have made, however, much work must still be done to enable continued growth for our children to realize their full potential,” Markell said.

You can read the full 248 page Kids Count report online.

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