New Data Shows Child Poverty Persists in Kentucky

New data released today by the U.S Census Bureau reveals that more than one in four Kentucky children still live in poverty. The American Community Survey 1-year estimate shows 25.9 percent of Kentucky children lived in poverty in 2015, which was not a significant change from the 2014 estimate. This estimate reveals that the percent of Kentucky children living in poverty remains higher since the recession began in 2008 (23.5 percent).

“We know the data tells the same story year after year–that poverty remains the biggest problem in Kentucky—and that’s because nothing has changed,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. “Poverty impacts every aspect of a child’s life—their health, reading levels, and likelihood of graduating from high school on time. How can we as a Commonwealth be OK with more than 256,000 of our kids growing up without their basic needs being met, like a safe place to live and food in their belly? What can we do to break the cycle of poverty that persists across all Kentucky counties?”

The data released today places Kentucky with the 6th highest child poverty rate in the United States. Kentucky is now tied with Alabama for 5th highest rate of overall poverty in the United States.

“Aside from troubling news about Kentucky’s child poverty rate, our elected leaders have started to address the problems facing children in poverty and that is something we should lift up. For example, in the 2016 legislative session, our leaders in Frankfort took steps that will help impact many low-income Kentucky children by enacting improvements to the Child Care Assistance Program to help more low-income working parents afford child care. Imagine if more progress was made in 2017 and then in 2018. Imagine if, and when, child poverty becomes old news for Kentucky,” said Dr. Brooks.

“We remain hopeful that common-sense and yet innovative solutions will break the stereotype of a ‘poor Kentucky’ and improve the realities of hard-working Kentucky families,” said Dr. Brooks.

For more information or to request an interview, contact Andrea Bennett at 502-381-1176.