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Kentucky Ranks 40th in the Nation in Child Poverty Rate

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.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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