New findings by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, from the organization's Kids Count study, show that there has been a dramatic rise in child poverty. From 2000 to 2009, there was a 20 percent increase.
"More troubling in some ways is that the children who are on the edge of living in poverty, those children who live with families that are at 200 percent of the federal poverty level, we now have 42 percent of all children, 31 million children in the U.S., living at that level," Patrick McCarthy of the Annie E. Casey Foundation told PBS News. "We like to think of it as two or three paychecks away from economic catastrophe."
He added that the implications are equally alarming, because kids who grow up in impoverished conditions are more likely to be poor themselves. Additionally, they have a higher chance of getting pregnant as teenagers and having a criminal record, all while having a lower chance of being employed.
"Unemployment insurance is a key protector of kids and families when unemployment is as high as it is," he explained to the news source. "The earned income tax credit, the child tax credit, these kinds of things help to supplement wages and keep kids out of poverty."
In some of the hardest-hit areas, there were very pronounced findings. In Kentucky, about one out of every five children is living in poverty, according to The Richmond Register. In 2009, more than 275,000 children from the state received food stamps. The report showed that Kansas has a similar problem, as about 20 percent of children in the state are living in poverty and is ranked in the top 10 states with the highest rate of unemployed teens who are not going to school, according to The Great Bend Tribune.