Kids Count: RI Has Highest Child Poverty Rate In New England

Jan 22, 2015

New numbers out of Rhode Island Kids Count show the number of children living in poverty has grown nearly five percent since the start of the Great Recession.  Kids Count RI executive director Elizabeth Burke-Bryant sat down with Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison to go over the numbers.

The latest report on child poverty in Rhode Island found in 2013 44,923 children under the age of 18 lived below the federal poverty threshold. That’s 21.5%, and higher than the rate of 15.5% in 2008.

Central Falls, Newport, Pawtucket, Providence and Woonsocket had the highest rates of children living in poverty, the report found. And in New England, Rhode Island has the highest rate of childhood poverty.

  • Connecticut: 14.5%
  • Maine: 17.7%
  • Massachusetts 16.3%
  • New Hampshire 10.2%
  • Rhode Island 21.5%
  • Vermont 15.3%

There are state and federal programs helping these children and their families, including RIte Care, the state’s insurance program for low-income children and their families. There are 17 State Pre-K classrooms in Rhode Island with 306 children enrolled, the report said. But the report said more needed to be done to help working mother pay for child care.

Housing is also an issue. The report found the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment at $1,154. Kids Count said rental vouchers would help families working at the federal poverty level, who spend 71% of their income on rent.

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