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Census Data: West Virginia Kids Still Hit By Poverty

October 4, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Data from the Census Bureau indicates that a quarter of West Virginia's children live in poverty. In 2000, 26 percent lived below the poverty line; the most recent figure is 24 percent, down only slightly.

Child and Family Policy Center research analyst Anne Discher says children suffer the most from the gap between the rich and poor.

"Children are more likely than individuals in other age groups to be in poverty."

Because children are future community leaders, the nation's prosperity in years to come is being threatened, Discher warns.

"Even if they are only in poverty during the recession, those children as adults make less money, they have less education and they have poorer health on average than kids who didn't experience that poverty."

Nationally, the census found that children in poverty are almost twice as likely to be without health insurance as children living above the poverty line, she adds.

The child poverty rate increased nationwide in the last 10 years. In spite of improvement, West Virginia still ranked near the bottom.

The Census Bureau data is available at www.census.gov.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV