Overwhelming Majority Of RI Kids Have Health Insurance; One In Five Live In Poverty

Sep 18, 2015

Rhode Island is 7th in the nation for children’s healthcare coverage. That’s according to 2014 numbers from the U.S. Census.  It’s a big jump from last year, when Rhode Island was 16th.

Today, nearly 97 percent of Rhode Island children have health insurance, up from about 94 percent in 2013. Elizabeth Burke-Bryant of the advocacy non-profit Rhode Island Kid’s Count said the leap can be partly attributed to a major PR push to get people insured, under Obamacare.

“There’s been overall, a lot more in the news, about connecting to healthcare coverage,” said Burke-Bryant. “The state has done a lot to provide training and outreach.”

The census report also finds the rate of child poverty is virtually unchanged in Rhode Island. One in five Rhode Island children live in poverty. The state ranks 26th nationwide and last in New England, and continues to battle higher-than-average unemployment.

Burke-Bryant says educating parents is the key to combatting childhood poverty.

“We need to increase the education level of parents, that they can be qualified for jobs that pay a living wage, and a family income that can support a family.”

Children living in poverty are more likely to have physical and mental health problems, and be unemployed or underemployed as adults. 

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