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Report: Nearly 300 Thousand Tennessee Children In Poverty

September 10, 2008

Knoxville, TN – More than a quarter-million Tennessee children were living in poverty last year, according to a new report based on Census Bureau data. The numbers reflect a national trend, one that has children's advocates concerned about the future.

Lisa McLeod, executive director of the Children's Defense Fund of Tennessee, says that as the economy continues to struggle it's likely 2008 will prove to be even worse.

"In a country with an economy like ours, consuming so many of the world's resources, there should not be any children in poverty."

McLeod says the report also found the number of uninsured children in Tennessee rose last year. She says while overall poverty rates have held steady, life for the most vulnerable children in the state has worsened.

Next year Congress will look at expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, initiatives that have been successful at helping lift families out of poverty. McLeod says things like quality education, livable wages for families, and better health care are also necessary improvements that must be made.

"Eradicating child poverty and helping these kids improves life for all of us. It's costing our nation so much money in lost productivity, higher crime rates, and poorer health."

The full report is available online at

Barbara Dab/Steve Powers, Public News Service - TN