USA's poor children under 6: 65% have working parent [CENSUS

Tom Boland (
Mon, 21 Jun 1999 23:12:28 -0700 (PDT)


By Laura Meckler, Associated Press, 06/18/99

                      WASHINGTON - The US child poverty rate is
declining with the strong economy, while more of the children still
poor have at least one parent who works but who makes too little to
lift them out of poverty, a university study has found.

                  The report provided new evidence that welfare reform
is moving many families into jobs that pay very little, researchers
said yesterday.

                  ''Welfare reform has done better at moving families
off the rolls than it has at moving families out of poverty,'' said
Lawrence Aber, director of Columbia University's Center for Children
in Poverty, which conducted the study.

                  Overall, the percentage of children under age 6 who
were poor fell to 22  percent in 1997, down from 23.2 percent in 1996,
according to the center's analysis of US Census data.

                  Since 1993, the rate of young children in poverty
has fallen by 16 percent after rising 52 percent between 1978 and

                  That isn't good enough for Bill Bradley, a
Democratic presidential hopeful who was addressing the issue
yesterday in Los Angeles. Child poverty rates have changed little
during President Clinton's administration, he said. ''But
what have they done? They've tinkered around the margins.''

                  Children are considered poor if their family's
income is below the federal poverty line. For a family of four, that
meant earning less than $16,400 in 1997.

                  In 1997, there were about 5.2 million poor young
children, including 2.5  million who were ''extremely poor,'' living
below half the poverty line.

                  Because of Social Security, poverty rates among
seniors have fallen, making young children the most likely in America
to be poor. They tend to be  poorer than older children because their
parents are younger and less established in the job market. Also, a
parent is more likely to stay home and not work when children are

                  The report found that 65 percent of poor young
children had a parent who worked at least part time - a 20 percent
increase since 1993.


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