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More Massachusetts Families Moving Out of Concentrated Poverty

In Massachusetts, the number of children living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty has decreased by 25%, according to The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Adobe Stock)
In Massachusetts, the number of children living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty has decreased by 25%, according to The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Adobe Stock)
September 26, 2019

BOSTON – The number children living in poverty in Massachusetts has fallen by 25% percent, according to a new report by The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Nancy Wagman, Kids Count director for the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, says while the trend is positive, the overall numbers remain troubling.

"There are still about 90,000 kids growing up in high poverty neighborhoods, and we know that these are neighborhoods where there are obstacles to opportunities for these kids, simply because of the nature of living in under-resourced communities," Wagman states.

According to the report, Massachusetts is one of 29 states nationwide that saw decreases in the share of children growing up in areas of concentrated poverty.

Wagman points out that for many parents, reliable transportation can make it harder to stay employed.

"The lack of public transit presents a huge challenge for kids living in our communities in the central and western part of the state," she points out.

Scot Spencer, The Casey Foundation’s associate state director of advocacy, says despite the relatively good economy, the rising costs of housing, food and other basic necessities leave many families struggling.

"There may be housing instability where kids may have to move from house to house because the parents or the adults in their lives are forced to make choices between whether they're going to pay rent or pay for heat,” he explains. “Or whether they have dinner on the table at night, or they get their medicine that they need."

More than 8.5 million children in the U.S. live in areas of concentrated poverty, according to Casey Foundation data.

Disclosure: Annie E Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Education, Juvenile Justice, Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - MA