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Statement: Nebraska Sees New Historic Lows for Child Poverty Rate

Despite progress, significant disparities remain for Nebraska’s children of color

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data from the American Community Survey that provide state and local data on child poverty. The data show good news with the percent of children in Nebraska living in poverty falling 1.2 percentage points from 2017 to 2018 with 12.9 percent of Nebraska’s kids living below the poverty line. This is the lowest childhood poverty rate seen in Nebraska since the collection of ACS data. Promising decreases were also seen for Black and African American children, Hispanic children, children living in low-income households, and those living in extreme poverty.

While Nebraska’s poverty rates are moving in the right direction, significant disparities remain among children of color, with 24.3 percent of Hispanic children and 30.0 percent of Black and African American children living in poverty compared to 8.2 percent of their White, non-Hispanic peers. Still, Nebraska children are the most likely to live in poverty of any other age group, including the elderly and adults at 7.6 percent and 11.1 percent living in poverty, respectively.

The release of today’s data also shows a continuing increase in the number of Nebraska children living without health insurance. After years of steady declines with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the number of uninsured Nebraska children increased for a second consecutive year. In 2018, 5.2 percent of Nebraska children did not have health insurance.

Voices for Children’s Executive Director Aubrey Mancuso released the following statement today regarding the new poverty numbers from the United States Census Bureau 2018 American Community Survey.

“Today’s release of poverty estimates showed an unexpected large decrease in the poverty rate for Nebraska kids from 14.1 percent to 12.9 percent. Overall in the United States child poverty decreased by 0.4 percent. Although we don’t want to draw too many conclusions from one year of data, it’s encouraging to see the percent of children living below poverty moving in the right direction, especially for our state’s children of color. While the gains observed in child poverty are promising, there remains unprecedented threat to children at the federal level. Policy and regulatory proposals that inject fear into immigrant communities and slash nutritional supports for vulnerable children would reverse these gains, and likely plunge more Nebraska children into deeper poverty,” said Aubrey Mancuso Executive Director of Voices for Children in Nebraska.

Founded in 1987, Voices for Children in Nebraska is the independent voice building pathways to opportunities for all children and families through research, policy, and community engagement.

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