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Report: Childhood Concentrated Poverty on Rise in NH


Thursday, September 26, 2019   

CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire ranks among just 10 states in the nation that saw the percentage of children living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty increase, according to a new report by The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Rebecca Woitkowski, Kids Count policy coordinator for the advocacy group New Futures, says the state is experiencing multiple social crises with devastating consequences for children.

"New Hampshire has been in the midst of a substance-use, mental health and child protection crisis for a number of years,” she points out. “So, we might be feeling the negative impact of that."

Growing up in an area of concentrated poverty is one of the greatest risks to healthy child development, according to the report.

The report also says, more than 12% of all children in the nation live in neighborhoods where fresh food and quality medical care are scarce, and poor air and water quality are commonplace.

Woitkowski says access to high-quality child care, home visiting and policies aimed at ending food insecurity can help families.

"It's really alarming, and it should underscore the need for lawmakers to focus on child well-being," she stresses.

Scot Spencer, The Casey Foundation’s associate state director of advocacy, says despite the economic expansion the country has seen over the past several years, concentrated poverty has worsened in many states.

"No children should be living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty,” he states. “The fact that we still have 8.5 million children after multiple years of economic expansion and growth should not be a satisfactory solution for anyone in the United States."

The report also found that African-American and Native American children are seven times more likely to live in high poverty neighborhoods, compared with white children.

Disclosure: Annie E Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Education, Juvenile Justice, Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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