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Report: More Nevada Children Living the Poorest Neighborhoods

February 23, 2012

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - A new KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation released today shows a 58-percent increase in the number of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods in Nevada, but Las Vegas is doing better than nearby cities. UNLV economics professor Stephen Brown, director of Nevada KIDS COUNT, says about a quarter of the children in Phoenix and San Diego are living in high-poverty communities, compared to only about 10 percent in Las Vegas.

Brown points to a number of factors.

"We have a lot of young people living here who are yet to have children, a large elderly population whose children aren't living at home, and we just don't have the big concentrated pockets of poverty."

Brown cautions that the snapshot's state numbers may be too optimistic, however, not taking into account some economic factors. Nationwide, the number of children living in high-poverty communities increased by 25 percent over the last decade.

Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform at the Casey Foundation, says the report shows that even if a family is not officially "in poverty" according to federal standards, children are still harmed when a lot of other people in the neighborhood are under that poverty line.

"Living in an area of concentrated poverty limits the opportunities families have to get a better job to make sure that the health and the welfare of their children is taken care of."

Brown says finding ways to grow the economy is the main way to solve the problem, and next on the list should be improving education opportunities in the Silver State.

"We need to look at the role schools play in providing opportunity to children and the kinds of issues children living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty have."

According to the report, African-American, American Indian and Latino children are six to nine times more likely to live in high-poverty communities than their white counterparts.

The full report is available at

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV