Response to Child Poverty Blog

Voices for Virginia’s Children released an executive summary and report, “Trends in Child Poverty and Family Income in Virginia,” showing that Virginia’s child poverty rate continues to climb, from 12.2% before the recession to 14.6% in 2010. As a result, an additional 33,000 children now live in poverty (poverty level is $22,350 for a family of four and $14,710 for a family of two).

Currently over 265,000 of Virginia’s children are growing up in poverty – more than at any time in the past 15 years.

Child poverty is not evenly distributed; for example, poverty rates for minority children and for those in single-parent families far exceed rates for other groups. Nor is child poverty an exclusively urban problem; many small cities and rural counties have drastically higher poverty rates than elsewhere. For example, two small cities in Virginia, Danville and Petersburg, have child poverty rates that exceed 41%.  Two rural counties, Buchanan and Lee, have child poverty rates that exceed 31%.  The report presents disturbing data on these disparities and lists child poverty rates for every Virginia locality.

The implication is clear: Virginia legislators need to continue to protect funding for safety net services that help children and families in tough times. Recessions have a delayed impact on child poverty rates.  The recession may be over, but not for the rising number of Virginia children who are growing up in poverty.

Contact Ted Groves, Kids Count Director, at ted@vakids.org for the full report.