The Children’s Defense Fund has published their 2011 report on The State of America’s Children. It’s a sobering read. Our children have lost a lot of ground during this ongoing economic mess. The future of our nation is at stake because our children are the future:
“Particularly striking is the fact that children of color in America who now constitute almost 45 percent of all
children will be the majority of children in 2019—just eight years from now. We will be counting on them as
the economic drivers of the future, who will be raising their own families, assisting their parents and investing in
the economy and in Social Security to keep us all thriving. Yet nearly 80 percent or more of Black and Hispanic
public school students cannot read or do math at grade level in fourth, eighth and 12th grades, sentencing them
to social and economic death in this globalizing competitive economy.” (Intro).
Some of the statistics given in the Introduction are:
• Babies of Black mothers are almost twice as likely as babies of White mothers to be born at low
• Black babies are more than twice as likely to die before their first birthday as White babies.
• More than one in three Black, one in three Hispanic and one in 10 White children live in poverty
($22,050 for a family of four).
• For children under age five, 41.9 percent of Black, 35 percent of Hispanic and almost 15 percent of
White children are poor.
• More than one in six Black and one in seven Hispanic children live in extreme poverty—at half the
poverty level or below. One in 20 White children lives in extreme poverty.
• Fewer than 40 percent of Black children live with two parents.
• Almost one in two Black children and more than one in four Hispanic children live with their mother
only, compared with fewer than one in five White children.
• Black children are more than seven times as likely and Hispanic children more than two and a half times
as likely as White children to have a parent in prison.
• Black and Hispanic children are almost three times as likely to be in poor or only fair health as White
children and are more likely to have an unmet medical need due to cost than White children.
• More than one in three children in low-income families is overweight or obese. Black teens are 26 percent
and Hispanic teens 32 percent more likely than White teens to be overweight or obese.
• Black students are more than three times as likely as White or Asian/Pacific Islander students and more
than twice as likely as Hispanic students to be suspended from school.
• The averaged graduation rate for Black and Hispanic students is just over 60 percent, in contrast with 81
percent for White and 91 percent for Asian/Pacific Islander students. The 20-plus percentage point spread
in graduation rates between Black and White students exists in 13 states.
• Black children are overrepresented in foster care – they represent 30 percent of children in foster care,
double the percent of the child population who are Black.
• Youth of color make up approximately two-thirds of youth in the juvenile justice system.
• Black youth are over three times more likely than all other groups to be arrested for a violent crime.
• The number of girls arrested has grown by 50 percent since 1980
• The Black-White gap in college completion persists and the Hispanic-White college completion gap is
• In 2010, four out of 10 Black and three out of 10 Hispanic teens ages 16 to 19 were unemployed.
• More Black than White children and teens were killed by firearms in 2007. Black children and teens
were more likely to be victims of homicide and White children and teens were more likely to be victims
• Black males 15 to 19 are more than five times as likely as White males and more than twice as likely as
Hispanic and American Indian males to be killed by firearms.
It’s important that we, as a country, begin to focus on our children and what needs to be done to change the devastating conditions that have been thrust upon them, by the economy and by the neglect of our society. Children are innocents – we have a duty to care for them – all of them, regardless of the color of their skin or the language they speak.