Today the U.S. Census Bureau released the results of the 2015 American Community Survey. We at Voices rely heavily on this annual data to help us track the current state of Nebraska children. One of the key data points that is part of this set is annual poverty estimates. Our state must ensure children and families are able to meet their basic needs. This is imperative to the overall well-being and success of our state’s future leaders and workforce. Nebraska families must be able to achieve financial security and our policies should support them in building a strong future for their children. The poverty rate is one of many ways we measure our progress.
Although we don’t want to draw too many conclusions from one year of data, it’s troubling to see Nebraska out of step with the national decrease. Nebraska also saw an increase in the Gini index, a measure of income inequality, which looks at how wealth is distributed over the population. This new data highlight the urgency of the work currently underway by the Intergenerational Poverty Task Force established by the Nebraska Legislature. We hope the task force will help compel policymakers to give this issue the attention it deserves.