New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau show Kentucky ranks 40th in the nation for child poverty.
The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey says 25.3 percent of Kentucky children lived in poverty in 2013, which is a little more than three percent higher than the national average.
The latest Census Bureau figures also include child poverty rates for Kentucky counties with populations of over 65,000 people:
- Boone County 12.5%
- Bullitt County 13.8%
- Campbell County 24.8%
- Christian County 15.0%
- Daviess County 20.9%
- Fayette County 23.2%
- Hardin County 20.7%
- Jefferson County 22.4%
- Kenton County 22.4%
- McCracken County 31.9%
- Madison County 21.3%
- Pike County 25.7%
- Warren County 22.5%
Kentucky Youth Advocates director Terry Brooks says anything that can be done to alleviate the number of economically distressed young people will pay off down the road.
“We know that poverty is the driver for literally every other facet of a kid’s life: health outcomes, education achievement, family structure, core issues like safety,” he said.
Brooks says while no one policy change will serve as a magic bullet, there are things that could be done to help disadvantaged families.
“The idea, for instance, of what if Kentucky became the place in the country that employed a micro-enterprise strategy to help struggling families become entrepreneurs. That’s something that should appeal to folks on the left, and folks on the right.
Brooks also renewed his call for lawmakers to institute an earned income tax credit, and take further steps to crack down on payday lenders who he says prey on the poor by charging exorbitant interest rates on short-term loans.