Infographic on the State of Childhood Poverty

Richard LeDonne, a research assistant for Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health, used their data to create the powerful infographic that appears below.

He offers this as background:

Across the board, children living in poverty in the U.S. experience the largest disparities from school achievement to quality of health and health care, and these gaps have consistently increased since the 1960’s. In the 1960’s Kennedy, and later Johnson, declared the “War on Poverty”. Since then, many non-profits, social workers and activists fed up with the limited success of the movement transitioned their efforts to “Education Reform”.

Today, education reformers largely work to address issues of poverty. While the channeling of energy into schools is an important component in an effort to eliminate disparities in our poorest neighborhoods, it loses sight of the larger context and underlying causes of poverty. Further, a focus on fighting poverty through schools not only ignores the big picture and root causes, it compartmentalizes interventions and resources.

I created this infographic to bring attention back to poverty and the multifaceted, permeating affects of growing up in an impoverished environment. As the data clearly show, poverty among our nation’s children is still the issue of our time. With this image I tried to capture the spirit of systems-thinking to illustrate the complexity and ubiquity inherent in issues surrounding poverty and thus demonstrate the necessity for multidimensional interventions.

I hope the graphic also brings attention to the limited data available at the national level on early childhood and the home. This is important as research has consistently shown that the future success of children starts in the home and neighborhood environment, which reinforces achievement in school and compounds with quality teachers and learning environments.

A safe and supportive home and community environment is the strongest predictor of future health and well-being of a child. The state of poverty in our families and neighborhoods permeates to other systems, crosses generations and is inextricably tied to our children’s success. Hope you enjoy.


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About Tamar Birckhead

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