Texas Report Highlights Child Poverty, Racial Inequality | KERA News

Texas Report Highlights Child Poverty, Racial Inequality

Apr 26, 2016

A report released earlier this month reveals some uncomfortable truths about child poverty in Texas. For example while 1 in 4 Texas kids live in poverty— for black and Latino children, it’s 1 in 3.

KERA took a deep dive into the State of Texas Children, produced by the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

Demographics

There are 7 million children in Texas, which means that nearly one in 10 kids across the U.S. call the Lone Star State home.

According to the census, the Texas population is 44 percent white. This new report shows the child population is 33 percent white.

The census says 39 percent of Texans are Hispanic or Latino. The State of Texas Children says 50 percent of kids are Hispanic or Latino.  

Neighborhoods

Even with identical incomes, black and Hispanic families are much more likely to live in high-poverty neighborhoods than white and Asian families. These are communities with few grocery stores, a lack of quality childcare and high teen pregnancy rates.

Percentage of kids living in high poverty neighborhoods:

  • National average- 14 percent
  • Texas- 19 percent  
  • Fort Worth- 26 percent
  • Dallas- 37 percent.

Suburbs

Families are definitely flocking to the suburbs.

“Although Dallas is still the largest county in terms of population we see the fastest growth happening in those outlying counties, Collin County, Denton County.” says report author Jennifer Lee. “Along with that fast growth, we see rapid racial and ethnic change.”

Collin County is growing very quickly, the child population there has tripled in the last 20 years.

1990- 83 percent white, 9 percent Hispanic.

2010- 58 percent white, 19 percent Hispanic.

Employment

The State of Texas Children report found 20 percent of white kids in Texas live in a household where neither parent has full-time year round employment.

For multi-racial families, it’s 31 percent of children.

It’s 32 percent for Hispanic kids.

It’s 40 percent for black children.

That’s permanent, full-time employment. Part-time, seasonal and temp work wasn’t considered.

Solutions

The Center for Public Policy Priorities made several recommendations.

  • Research has shown that early college programs, which let high school kids get a jump on courses for college credit, are really helpful to minority students and low-income children too.
  • Communities must provide more affordable housing in “high opportunity neighborhoods.”
  • Researchers say making sure people who are getting workforce training also have access to early childhood programs would help job seekers with kids find meaningful employment.