Wilmington child poverty rate nearly double Delaware average

    The latest statistics show the poverty rate for Wilmington children is on the rise.

    The latest numbers from the Kids Count Fact Book 2009 show that nearly 25% of Wilmington children are living in poverty, compared to about 13% of kids statewide.

    The Kids Count book is a 110 page snapshot of how Wilmington children are faring with statistics on everything from reading scores to juvenile crime.  Wilmington Mayor James Baker (D) says, “Every figure in [the book], no matter what the percent or the number represents a person, and I don’t think sometimes we see it that way because we’re used to throwing around statistics.”

    Those statistics show that 24.2% of the city’s children were living in poverty as of 2008.  That number has likely increased due to the downturn in the economy in 2009, says Kids Count policy analyst Janice Barlow.  “We all know that the recession has hit us pretty hard.  Many businesses within the city and the state as a whole are closing their doors.”  Barlow says the city’s rising unemployment has sent more of Wilmington’s kids into poverty than is reflected in the book.

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    Another cause for concern is the rising number of single mothers in Wilmington.  Barlow says nearly 70% of Wilmington babies are being born to single mothers.  She says, “This is concerning because single parenthood significantly increases the chance that a child is going to live in poverty.”

    Mayor Baker says the Kids Count book should be used to create a combined effort between leaders in the city and the state to address the problems.  “We look at these figures this year, how do we change them for next year, how do we make them better  by the time year two comes around and  this document comes up again.”

    The Kids Count Fact Book is compiled in cooperation with the city of Wilmington, the University of Delaware, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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