Nearly 1 in 5 children in our nation were poor in 2017, struggling with inadequate healthcare and nutrition, untreated illness, unsafe childcare, unstable housing and inferior schools. No child should have to worry whether she will have enough to eat or have a place to sleep at night. Permitting millions of children to live in poverty when we have the means to prevent it is unjust and unacceptable. It is also economically and socially dangerous: child poverty costs our nation nearly $700 billion a year in lost productivity and extra health and crime costs.
But the United States can eliminate the terrible human and economic waste of child poverty if we choose to fight it rather than ignore it. The Children’s Defense Fund’s new edition of our Ending Child Poverty Now report shows our nation can help millions of today’s children escape poverty now by simply improving and investing in existing policies and programs to increase employment, make work pay and meet children’s basic needs. By investing an additional 1.4 percent of the federal budget into these proven policies and programs, our nation can reduce child poverty at least 57 percent, lift 5.5 million children out of poverty and make an immediate down payment on ending child poverty for all children. We ask you to use the report and corresponding materials to inform your conversations and make the case that solutions to child poverty in our rich nation already exist if we are willing to invest in them.
If you agree that child poverty needs to be at the top of our national agenda, make your voice heard. Sign the petition started by eighteen-year-old Israel Glenn, whose experience growing up in poverty drives him to demand change for other children. It has been 20 years since there was a question about addressing child poverty in a presidential debate—that’s an entire generation of children growing up and facing hunger, homelessness, and instability like Israel did, without answers from our leaders. Israel is saying this is simply unacceptable, and we hope you’ll join him.
Child poverty has many faces in this country. Poverty might look like a third grader struggling to finish homework without electricity in his home, or like a twelve-year-old who can’t focus on her first period pop quiz because she hasn’t had a meal since yesterday’s school lunch. Every story of child poverty amounts to another reason to take decisive action to end child poverty now.
Hover over the map to learn more about child poverty in your state, or click through to explore the stories of those for whom this reality is so much more than a statistic.
Help us understand how child poverty has impacted your life or that of a loved one. Submit your story below and support our fight to better the odds for all children living in poverty.
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