Child Poverty Surges in Tennessee



A new report issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation has found that the number of children living in "high-poverty communities" in the state of Tennessee has grown by nearly 100 percent over the last decade.

According to the latest Kids Count survey, the number of children living in high-poverty areas in the United States is 8 million — a nationwide surge of roughly 1.6 million kids under the age of 18 "living in areas with 30% of residents or more living below the poverty threshold" since 2000. In Tennessee, that number increased by 91 percent over the same time period, with 26 percent of children in the Volunteer State now living in poverty.

The foundation describes "high-poverty areas" thusly:

Research indicates that as neighborhood poverty rates increase, undesirable outcomes rise and opportunities for success are less likely. The effects of concentrated poverty begin to appear once neighborhood poverty rates rise above 20 percent and continue to grow as the concentration of poverty increases up to the 40 percent threshold. This report defines areas of concentrated poverty as those census tracts with poverty rates of 30 percent or more because it is a commonly used threshold that lies between the starting point and leveling off point for negative neighborhood effects. The 2010 federal poverty threshold is $22,314 per year for a family of four.

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