Child poverty in Indiana increases 23 percent from 2004 to 2008

This information was distributed today by the Indiana Youth Institute (for a printable version, click here).

With the recent release of 2008 poverty data, it is clear that the recession is affecting the already rising rate of child poverty in Indiana. Between 2004 and 2008, Indiana showed a 23 percent increase in the percent of children living in poverty. The latest data show that 18.3 percent, or four out of an average classroom of 22 children, are living in poverty.

Indiana falls very close to the national average. In 2008, 13.1 percent of Hoosiers lived in poverty compared with 13.2 percent in the nation.(1) And 18.3 percent of Indiana’s children under age 18 lived in poverty, compared with 18.2 percent nationally.(2) (Maps, right, show latest county-level data).

In addition to the recession, other factors are contributing to the rise in child poverty. In Indiana, an increasing percentage of children are born into single-parent homes, and these children are much more likely to be poor than children in households with married parents. Indiana’s immigrant population is also on the rise, and having immigrant parents is associated with a greater likelihood of being poor. There are also racial and ethnic disparities; black and Hispanic children are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as non-Hispanic white and Asian children.(3)

Children who grow up poor are more likely to earn less as an adult, complete fewer years of formal education, and face more health problems than children living in higher-income families.(4) These issues are especially prevalent in families that have experienced deep, or generational, poverty, and for children who have experienced poverty early in childhood.(5)                                                             

However, impoverished families have been found to have little difference in several areas of family life compared to non-poor families, including parent-child relationships, religious attendance, and feeling safe at home and in school.(6)

(1)-U.S. Census Bureau (2008) 2007 American Community Survey.
Available at www.census.gov
(3) -Moore, K.; Redd, Z.; Burkhauser, M.; Mbeana, K.; & Collins, A. (2009, April). Children in Poverty: Trends, 3-Consequences, and Policy Opinions. Child Trends Research Brief. Available at http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2009_04_07_RB_ChildreninPoverty.pdf(accessed 10/13/09).
(4)-National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices (2008) State Strategies to Reduce Child and Family Poverty.  http://www.nga.org/Files/pdf/0806POVERTYBRIEF.PDF (accessed 9/9/09)
(5)- Valladares, S., and Anderson Moore, K. (2009, May). The Strengths of Poor Families. Child Trends Research Brief. Available at http://www.childtrends.org/Files/Child_Trends-2009_5_14_RB_poorfamstrengths.pdf  (accessed 10/13/09).
(6)- ibid


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