Nearly 16 million children and youth live below the poverty line. Of those, 7 million live in extreme poverty, or below 50 percent of the poverty line. Millions more live in low-wage families with parents who work full-time but simply cannot earn enough to provide for basic family needs.
Poverty interferes with a child’s ability to learn and hinders a family’s chance at achieving the American dream. It leads to negative health effects and higher incidence of drug use, crime, incarceration, and other outcomes that impose high costs on individuals and society.
Programs like Medicare and Medicaid, Head Start, affordable housing, low-income energy assistance and supplemental nutrition assistance help lift children and families out of poverty, and give them a better shot at getting ahead.