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The Problem

It is a national moral disgrace that children remain the poorest age group in the United States of America—one of the richest countries in the world.  It is also unnecessary, costly and the greatest threat to the nation’s future national, economic and military security.  Nearly 1 in 5 children—12.8 million in total—were poor in 2017. Over 45 percent of these children lived in extreme poverty at less than half the poverty level. Nearly 70 percent of poor children were children of color. About 1 in 3 American Indian/Alaska Native children and more than 1 in 4 Black and Hispanic children were poor, compared with 1 in 9 White children. The youngest children are most likely to be poor, with 1 in 5 children under 5 living in poverty during the years of rapid brain development.

Child poverty hurts children and our nation’s future. It creates gaps in cognitive skills for very young children, puts children at greater risk of hunger and homelessness, jeopardizes their health and ability to learn and fuels the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

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