New KIDS COUNT Report: Lack of Economic Security Threatens Washington State’s Kids
The 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book shows that children in Washington state continue to feel the pinch of tough economic times.
Overall, half a million children in our state (one in three) live in households where no parent has stable employment. Since the onset of the Great Recession, 64,000 more kids have been pushed below the poverty line ($23,450 for a family of four).
The data also point to persistent racial and ethnic disparities in children’s health, education, and other forms of opportunity:
- One in three Black and Latino children are growing up in poverty – nearly twice the total rate;
- Native American children are three times as likely to be without health coverage as children of other backgrounds; and
- These and other inequities form the opportunity gap that obstructs children’s progress toward a secure and healthy future.
Check out the newly designed KIDS COUNT Data Center for over 100 indicators on child well-being.
In the midst of this gradual economic recovery, the new KIDS COUNT data solidifies how important it is for Washington state to focus public investments on programs and services that allow all kids to thrive and close opportunity gaps, such as:
- Giving kids the right start in life by providing support for parents before birth and in the first five years of life;
- Subsidizing quality child care and early learning opportunities that provide kids the academic success they need to compete in the 21st-century economy;
- Providing health coverage that prevents ordinary childhood illnesses from becoming chronic and costly lifelong problems;
State legislators and the Governor have been working on a budget that seeks to uphold our Constitutional obligation to provide a basic education, so kids can thrive in school and in life. Yet we can’t cut critical services for kids and families and expect great things in the classroom. In trying to solve one crisis, we can’t create another.
Children are our state’s greatest asset. We can do much more for them together than we can separately. Parents, policymakers and community leaders can come together to build strong families and close the gaps that show up in the data.
Kids Count in Washington is a partnership between Children's Alliance and the Washington State Budget & Policy Center to help improve young lives.
Hundreds of data indicators about the well-being of children are available through the KIDS COUNT in Washington web site: www.kidscountwa.org.