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New Report: South Dakota Children Living in Poverty Creeping Up

February 5, 2007

The percentage of South Dakota children who live in poverty has increased in the past five years. That's the finding of new research comparing South Dakota with bordering states as well as national income figures.

Children comprise 18 percent of those living in poverty in our state, compared to 13 percent for South Dakotans overall. Study author Carole Cochran says this is particularly bad news for the state's future, because kids living in poverty often face troubles that only begin in childhood.

"Their physical and emotional health are affected, along with their family stability, educational achievement, future earnings and overall well-being. So many of the issues that we face today are rooted in poverty. If we can do things to create jobs and develop new ventures and opportunities, that's going to help the state overcome these problems in the long run."

Cochran lists other ways that impoverished families are disadvantaged: lack of health care coverage, lack of child care, inadequate housing, hunger, illiteracy, and school delinquency.

"When we see that the child poverty rate is creeping up a bit, we need to determine how we can provide economic development to all areas of the state."

Cochran's research indicates South Dakota's reservation counties have the highest percentages of poor children, often more than 30 percent. Her report appears in the December issue of the South Dakota Business Review, a publication of the Business Research Bureau at the University of South Dakota.

It also can be accessed on line at

David Law/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - SD