It is well-established that poverty leads to poor outcomes for children. Dr. Joan Luby of Washington University says, "We've known for decades that poverty is the most robust predictor of bad outcomes for children." That hasn't stopped us from tolerating a persistently high rate of childhood poverty throughout the very same decades. In North Carolina, 24.3% of children are impoverished, which affects their brain development, their mental health, their exposure to toxins, and even their physical health into adulthood.
Income inequality also affects childhood development. A recent study in the journal Pediatrics shows that income inequality at the county level is associated with higher levels of mistreatment of children in the U.S. The findings contribute to the growing literature linking greater income inequality to a range of poor health and well-being outcomes in infants and children.
North Carolina has a huge interest in all children. Working to end childhood poverty, by strengthening our safety net, our schools, and our job market is the duty of everyone in the state. From citizens to elected officials, improving the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors should be a top priority.
Keep your eye on our site as we shift our focus this summer on the devastating effects that growing up poor wreaks on our Tar Heel youth.