Children and poverty

About 15 million children in the United States live below the poverty threshold. Most of these children have parents who work, but low wages and unstable employment leave their families struggling to make ends meet. Poverty can impact children’s ability to learn and contribute to social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Cleveland has the highest child poverty rate of any large city in the United States, with 51% of children living in poverty.

And with 5 in 10 Black children living in poverty as opposed to 3 out of 10 white children, poverty disproportionately affects Black families.

For Cleveland’s children, poverty means a lack of basic necessities, like safe housing and food. Yet impacts of childhood poverty continue beyond the struggle to meet basic needs. In Cuyahoga County, 45% of families with children reported choosing between paying for food and another necessity, and 24% reported choosing between medical or care or another necessity.

Nationally, data from U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty tells us that children born and raised in poverty are less likely to achieve economic mobility. That holds true in Cleveland, where children that are born poor are likely to also be poor as adults. The end result is an entire generation that doesn’t meet their fullest potential. This holds our children, our community and our future at risk.