According to new Census data from the American Community Survey, poverty increased more quickly among Connecticut children, reaching 14.9% in 2011 up from 12.8% in 2010. This means that 118,809 children live in families with incomes under the Federal Poverty Level, which was $22,811 for a two-parent household with two children in 2011.
In Bridgeport, New Britain and Waterbury the child poverty rate is double the statewide rate of 14.9% and in the city of Hartford 47.9% of children under the age of 18 live in poverty, 3 times that of the state average. New Haven isn't far behind Hartford with a rate of 41.4% of children living in poverty.
CT Voices for Children did a cross comparison of children living under the federal poverty level with the median household income and not surprisingly, the median incomes in Hartford ($29,169) and New Haven ($33,526) are less than half the state average ($65.753).
It is never good for poverty rates to increase, especially amongst children. Children who are born into poverty and spend many years in poor families have worse adult outcomes than those in high-income families including, being less likely to complete high school than their non-poor peers, more likely to have a child as a teen than their non-poor peers, and struggle to go on to have consistent employment.
The State of Connecticut, in 2004, was the first state in the nation to set a goal of reducing child poverty in half by 2014. As 2014 rapidly approaches, I think the work being done by the Child Poverty and Prevention Council must become a priority this upcoming legislative session and into the future in order to improve the economic and social wellbeing of Connecticut's most vulnerable youth.