FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Oregon’s Native American and Black Children More Likely to Live in Areas of Concentrated PovertyContact:
Jenifer Wagley | firstname.lastname@example.org | 503-236-9754 (w) | 503-893-4596 (c)
Julia Pagán | email@example.com | 503-236-9754 (w) | 310-963-5838 (c)
PORTLAND, Ore. — Seven percent of Oregon’s 873,000 children live in concentrated poverty, according to “Children Living in High Poverty, Low-Opportunity Neighborhoods,” a new KIDS COUNT® data snapshot released Sept 24 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report is based on the American Community Survey’s five-year estimates from the Census Bureau.
If the 57,000 Oregon children in question made up a single city, it would be the 10th most populous city in the state, knocking Corvallis to the 11th spot.
According to the new report, concentrated poverty means that 30% or more people in a census tract live in poverty. Concentrated poverty often means that people are socially and/or geographically isolated from networks of economic opportunity. People living in concentrated areas of poverty tend to have poorer health outcomes, particularly in connection to mental health, increased blood pressure rates, and exposure to environmental hazards like lead. The negative developmental impact on young children is especially important to recognize.
Oregon’s concentrated poverty rate is five percentage points lower than the nation’s overall rate. But not all Oregon children are impacted the same. Specifically, 20% (2,000) of Oregon’s Native American children and 14% (3,000) of its African American children live in areas of concentrated poverty. Twelve percent (23,000) of children in immigrant families live in concentrated poverty, a number that could quickly escalate with increasingly harsh federal policies related to public charge, internment and child separation. When you compare these numbers against the fact that only 4% (22,000) of non-Hispanic white children are living in areas of concentrated poverty, the data reveal where the opportunity gap begins.
And what about children in urban versus rural areas? Nine percent (11,000) of Portland’s children live in areas classified as concentrated poverty. This is a slightly higher percentage than the less densely populated rural areas, where the rate is equal to or less than the state’s overall average.
Closing the opportunity gap and ensuring that all children in Oregon have the chance to achieve their full potential is the work that equity demands, and the dream of America. Areas of concentrated poverty thwart both.
Solutions to uplift these communities are not far out of reach. There are a few policies we can enact at the county and state levels to help struggling families, such as preserving affordable housing; expanding workforce training for people of color and people in low-income communities; and ending housing discrimination based on previous convictions.
In recent years, the legislature has taken steps to make affordable housing more available, ensure that the youngest Oregonians have excellent beginnings, and make it possible for families to take time to care for themselves and their loved ones without financial devastation. Many people are working for the success of these laws as communities begin to see and feel their effects.
Strong neighborhoods foster stable, healthy families that strengthen the nation as a
whole, and the government, philanthropic and business sectors can all promote
changes that will put more children on the path to opportunity.
The KIDS COUNT® “Children Living in High-Poverty, Low-Opportunity Neighborhoods” data snapshot will be available Sept. 24 at 12:00 AM EST:
About Children First for Oregon
Children First for Oregon (CFFO) is a statewide, nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower communities to advocate for kids so all children in Oregon can thrive. Since 1991, CFFO has worked across the state to galvanize community support for children and inform decision makers about the solutions kids need. CFFO convenes and engages communities through four program areas: legislative solutions, foster youth advocacy, child abuse prevention, and research and data. Learn more at www.cffo.org.
About the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org.