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New poverty data shows child poverty down slightly in Nebraska

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released new statistics from the American Community Survey that provide state and local data on Poverty and Health Insurance.  Earlier this week, the Census Bureau released national data showing that the poverty rate nationally remained essentially unchanged while there was a decline in the number of children with health insurance nationally.

The data released today in Nebraska showed that from 2011 to 2012, the rate of Nebraska children in poverty dropped slightly from 18.1% in 2011 to 17.9% in 2012. Nebraska’s number of children in poverty has still not recovered from the recession, and the rate of children living below the poverty line is still significantly higher than rates seen pre-2010.

Health insurance data released today showed that the rate of uninsured children rose slightly, from 5.9% in 2011 to 6.0% in 2012.

The new child poverty data is a mixed bag of results.  The good news is Nebraska’s rate of child poverty decreased slightly from 18.1% in 2011 to 17.9% in 2012.  The bad news is that the gains are small.  If we rounded up all of the children living below the poverty line in our state and put them in one place, they’d still nearly fill Memorial Stadium.

We know that poverty is especially bad for children and puts them at risk for a variety of issues throughout their lifetime.  Today’s data show that many children in our state continue to grow up in circumstances that don’t set them up for long-term success.  We need to come together as a community to address poverty and ensure that all of our state’s kids have the best possible opportunity to succeed.

We know what it takes to make sure children have the tools they need to succeed.  Investing in child care and quality early childhood education so kids enter school ready to learn.  Strengthening the social safety net and programs like SNAP make sure kids have their basic needs met. And raising the minimum wage helps working parents move from just scraping by to providing a better future for their children.

Thank you to taking the time to share!

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