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Minority, Immigrant Families Face Largest Childhood Obstacles in MO

More than 100,000 Missouri children live in immigrant families. (26057/Pixabay)
More than 100,000 Missouri children live in immigrant families. (26057/Pixabay)
October 24, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The biggest barriers to success for Missouri's children are in the paths of black and Hispanic populations, and children from immigrant families, according to a report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report ranks children's progress on a scale of one to 1,000, for milestones such as early learning, graduating on time and living above the poverty line.

In Missouri, African-American children ranked 320 compared to the national average of 369. But Hispanic or Latino children in the state fared slightly better than the national average, at 479 compared to 429.

Bill Dent, executive director of The Family and Community Trust, says it boils down to this singular truth:

"Still, for children of color, that their opportunities - just by virtue of their skin color - becomes a hindrance," he says.

The Casey Foundation recommends policies aimed at keeping families and communities together, helping children meet key developmental milestones and increasing economic opportunity for parents.

There is one measure where immigrant families outpace their U.S.-born counterparts. Eighty-percent of immigrant children are growing up with two parents, compared with only 65 percent of children in U.S.-born families.

Dent sees the most alarming opportunity gaps for Missouri children in the category of education.

"The largest disparities between black and white children were in academic indicators: fourth-grade reading proficiency, math proficiency in eighth-grade, on-time graduation rates," he notes.

The report also shows stark differences in median household income among races. For a white family in Missouri, it's about $69,000 a year. For a Latino family, it's $41,000 - and for an African-American family, it's $29,000 annually.

Kevin Patrick Allen, Public News Service - MO