America’s Forgotten Children

Child poverty is closely linked to poor health, deficiency in academic performance, emotional problems, and delinquency. As adults, children raised in poverty are more likely to earn less and be unemployed more often than children brought up in families with incomes above the poverty line.

Rural areas historically suffer greater numbers of poor families. And while the share of rural children in families with incomes below the poverty level declined from 22 percent in 1990 to 19 percent in 2000, statistics show that 34 percent of today’s rural poverty population is under the age of 18.

There are a number of factors associated with rural child poverty. Two major demographic factors—ethnic minority status and single parent families—are found to be disproportionately poor relative to their share in the general population. A better understanding of the dimensions of child poverty is important in redesigning public assistance programs to be more effective in hard-to-serve rural areas.

A report published in February 1988 by Public Voice for Food and Health Policy studied the basic relationship between nutrition and health as underlying influences to academic performance. The assessment of nutritional and social-service problems experienced by the rural poor indicated that impoverished rural residents experience more nutritional problems than higher-income individuals and, often, more problems than the urban poor as well as the disproportionate effect of poverty on the health and welfare of rural children.

Have the problems really gotten any better over the last two decades? What does the future hold for rural America’s less fortunate children? Tune in this Sunday, December 21, 2008 at 9 PM ET on Nickelodeon as Linda Ellerbee explores the plight of rural America’s youngest victims of poverty.

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2 Responses to “America’s Forgotten Children”

  1. a difficult subject. thank you for the heads up about the program tomorrow evening. i’ll be sure to watch it and hope to learn about ways we can support making progress in this critical area of need, especially at this time of year.

  2. One aspect to this is substandard housing and there’s no organization that is addressing that issue than: <a href=””>Appalachia Service Project</a>.

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