poverty | KERA News

poverty

Photo/Allison V. Smith

The Dallas City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the city's first comprehensive housing policy. It's designed to address the shortage of affordable housing and break up concentrations of poverty in the city.

Allison V. Smith / KERA News special contributor

A new study by the Communities Foundation of Texas and the left-leaning Center For Public Policy Priorities evaluated education, employment, debt, housing and healthcare across Dallas County. 

The data show experiences vary greatly from zip code to zip code.

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Each day, social workers must decide whether or not the children they visit should be removed from their parents’ homes. It’s a decision that changes the courses of those kids’ lives.

During a recent episode of  KERA's "Think," Naomi Schaefer Riley, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, talked about how we can better harness statistical information to help make these decisions.

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The left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities, based in Austin, works on everything from health care to hunger.

Executive Director Ann Beeson lays out the most pressing issues she thinks Texans, especially low-to-moderate income Texans, are up against in 2018.

"The federal government must take bold action to address inequitable funding in our nation's public schools."

So begins a list of recommendations released Thursday by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent, bipartisan agency created by Congress in 1957 to investigate civil rights complaints. Thursday's report comes after a lengthy investigation into how America's schools are funded and why so many that serve poor and minority students aren't getting the resources they say they need.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

One in five North Texas children lives in poverty, and more than a quarter million are hungry as their parents struggle to feed them.

Those are just a few statistics from a recent 97-page report issued by Children’s Health, the Dallas-based children’s hospital network. The study offers possible solutions, too.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Dallas has made progress on reducing poverty, but it still has one of the highest populations of children living in poverty among major U.S. cities.

On the south side of Dallas, Nena Eldridge lives in a sparse but spotless bungalow on a dusty lot. At $550 each month, her rent is just about the cheapest she could find in the city.

After an injury left her unable to work, the only income she receives is a $780 monthly disability check. So she has to make tough financial choices, like living without running water.

What makes a high-quality learning program effective not just for the child but the whole family? What else, besides a well-run early ed or pre-K program, is essential to help families break out of intergenerational poverty?

The widening gap between rich and poor Americans has pushed the chances of children earning more money than their parents down to around 50 percent, economic researchers say. That's a sharp fall from 1940, when 90 percent of kids were destined to move up the income ladder.

In the quest to help the poor, it's difficult to know whose needs are the greatest. Without clear data, it's tough to know who to help first.

The traditional way to look for the poorest of the poor is with household surveys. They are the primary source of data for policy decisions, but they have drawbacks.

As Dallas Struggles With Poverty, Landlord Plans Abrupt Closures

Oct 6, 2016
Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

Dallas City Hall is scrambling to keep hundreds of families from becoming homeless as a real estate management company threatens an abrupt, mass eviction in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

Poverty Is Going Down In Texas, But Food Stamp Need Isn't

Oct 6, 2016
Todd Wiseman / Amanda Quitoriano / The Texas Tribune

Although incomes have been rising and poverty declining in Texas, there's been less change in the share of households relying on food stamps, new U.S. Census data shows.

More Americans are making more money.

The U.S. Census Bureau released new numbers on Tuesday showing that, after a brutal economic recession and years of stagnation, real median household incomes rose from $53,718 in 2014 to $56,516 last year. That's a 5.2 percent rise — the first statistically significant increase since 2007.

But, as NPR's Pam Fessler notes, "the median household income was still lower than it was in 2007."

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Government programs are in place to help impoverished families, orphans, the disabled and the elderly. Sometimes, though, the money from those programs doesn’t make it to the people in need.

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Some experts say service agencies working together-- a true holistic approach-- is the only way to get a handle on poverty.

A new Fort Worth program encourages families to think beyond that next paycheck, and make real plans for the future.

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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.

A new report looks at poverty through the lens of race and equal opportunityThe State of Texas Children, released Wednesday, shows one in four Texas kids live in poverty. For children in black and Latino families, the statistic jumps to one in three.

In Texas, Poverty Rate Highest At Border, Lowest In Suburbs

Jan 20, 2016
Michael Barera/Wikipedia

Texas continues to be home to some of the poorest counties in the country with poverty most prevalent along the Texas-Mexico border, census figures show.

Dallas Struggles To Overcome Segregated Legacy

Jan 4, 2016
Photo by Daxis / Flickr

By most accounts, census tract 166.05 is not a particularly desirable place to live. Tucked between two major highways in southwest Dallas, the neighborhood is characterized by clusters of ramshackle, one-story houses, huge swaths of vacant land and big warehouses and storage centers.

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When it comes to wealth, there’s a big gap between the “haves” and “have nots” in Dallas. And it turns out, those with means and those without don’t live very far apart.

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City of Dallas and community leaders gathered Tuesday to talk about everything from child poverty to living wage jobs. Experts say getting a grip on the problem is the first step to solving it.

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This year’s Opportunity Index was just released. It’s an annual big-data report that ranks states on how easy it is for people to improve their lives financially. This year, Texas ranks in the bottom third -- 36th overall.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

About half a million Texans live in what’s known as colonias. These communities pop up near the Texas-Mexico border and usually lack the basics, such paved roads, utilities and secure housing.

What It’s Like To Be Poor

Jan 23, 2015
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Members of America’s middle and upper classes have preconceived notions about what it means to be poor. This hour, as part of KERA’s One Crisis Away initiative, we found out what going without is really like.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

A third of North Texans are living without enough cushion to last more than a few months after a financial disruption. KERA’s series “One Crisis Away” put a face on asset poverty by chronicling four local families.

Dane Walters / KERA News

Last year, KERA launched a series called One Crisis Away, looking at four North Texas families on the financial edge. Between now and the end of the year, we’ll catch up with the families. First up, the Dorys.

Corporation for Economic Development

A new nationwide study shows a continuing surge in “asset poverty” rates in North Texas -- despite the economic recovery. 

Despite The 'Texas Miracle,' These Families Are Struggling

Aug 27, 2014
Gabe Hernandez / The Texas Tribune

If there’s a “Texas miracle,” it’s hard to see it from where María Ayala is sitting.

Twitter/Mayor Mike Rawlings (@ Mike_Rawlings)

Dallas’ poor population has exploded.

From 2000 to 2012, the number of poor people in Dallas rose by 41 percent. That far outweighs the city's overall 5 percent population growth during the same period.

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