According to the latest Kids Count Data Book, children in Alabama suffer higher rates of poverty than they did 15 years ago, with African-American and Hispanic children being more than twice as likely to live in low-income households as their white counterparts.
About 27% of Alabama children live in households that earn $25,000 or less for a family of four. Worse, nearly half live in extreme poverty, with a household income of less than $12,000 a year. That’s about 300,000 children and families who lack the necessary economic resources to access safe housing, healthy food, and adequate child care.
To put the situation in context, consider the fact that Asia was the poorest continent on the planet 40 years ago. It was twice as poor as Africa is today, and it now has the fastest growing economy and is twice as rich as Africa.
Yet, about 790 million people in the developing world are still chronically undernourished, almost two-thirds of whom reside in Asia and the Pacific. In fact, 27 to 28% of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
In other words, the poverty situation in Alabama is as rampant as it is in third-world countries.
However, the report was not all bad news. It noted that Alabama has also made progress in other areas. The statewide graduation rate increased six percentage points last year, and more children than ever have been able to attend pre-K.
What’s more, juvenile court petition rates for violent crimes were nearly half of what they were last year, mirroring a national trend, and violent crime by juveniles is at a 30-year low across the nation, according to the report.