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The Face of North Dakota Child Poverty: Native American Kids

January 12, 2009

Bismarck, ND – The face of child poverty in North Dakota is almost entirely Native American, according to a new report compiled by the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). CDF's State of America's Children 2008 report finds Native American children have about a 50-percent chance of living below the poverty line.

CDF spokesman Ed Shelleby says, nationally, the number of all children living in poverty increased by about a half million, and North Dakota has seen rising overall numbers, too.

"In North Dakota, the number of children living in poverty is about 19,000, and about half of those children are living in extreme poverty."

Extreme poverty is defines by a family of four living on $10,000 a year, or less.

Polly Fassinger, program director for North Dakota Kids Count, says the situation is most precarious for Native American kids.

"The poverty rate for children who are American Indian in North Dakota has been historically much higher than is the rate for other children in North Dakota."

The CDF report finds over 46 percent of North Dakota Native American children living in poverty. CDF hopes the report serves to generate national and local debate on children's poverty issues.

The full report is at www.childrensdefense.or.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - ND