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Disadvantaged Youth

Not all children get an equal start in life.

Today, 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children are living in poverty, where even life’s basics are hard to come by. 

When families are experiencing financial disadvantage children can fall behind with their learning, leaving them more vulnerable to experiencing hardship themselves later in the life. 

Research shows children and young people living in disadvantage have access to fewer books and learning materials in the home. Access to support and resources forms the foundation for learning. In many cases, the parents of disadvantaged children may not have the skills or experience to support their child’s education. As these children get older, they have fewer role models, and access to mentors and networks that are critical for creating educational opportunities to help them build their aspirations and be motivated to learn.

Most of these children through no fault of their own face extremely difficult circumstances. 

Fact About Child Poverty

Child Poverty – Provided by National Center for Child Poverty
About 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, a measurement that has been shown to underestimate the needs of families. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 43% of children live in low-income families.
Most of these children have parents who work, but low wages and unstable employment leave their families struggling to make ends meet. Poverty can impede children’s ability to learn and contribute to social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Poverty also can contribute to poor health and mental health. Risks are greatest for children who experience poverty when they are young and/or experience deep and persistent poverty.

Research is clear that poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s well-being. But effective public policies – to make work pay for low-income parents and to provide high-quality early care and learning experiences for their children – can make a difference. Investments in the most vulnerable children are also critical.

Children And Poverty

Federal Poverty Line

How many kids live in Povety

It's Here in the US

The federal “poverty line” for a family of 4 (2 adults + 2 kids under age 17) is about $24,000. But social welfare researchers say it would take an income of about twice that amount to achieve basic financial security. — U.S. Census Bureau

1 kid in 5 lives in poverty compared to 1 in 8 adults. That’s 15.5 million impoverished kids in the U.S. — U.S. Census Bureau

Kids in the U.S. experience higher poverty rates than most developed nations. Only Greece, Mexico, Israel and Turkey have higher child poverty rates than the U.S. — Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Solving the Problem