Every day at Legal Aid, we work with families living in poverty. In a recent post, we highlighted the staggering poverty rates contained in the 2010 Census data. Further analysis of that data, together with new sobering numbers, reveal the truly dire circumstances faced by our clients and their children.
Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that the District has the highest rate of childhood poverty in the Nation. In our nation’s capital, almost one in three children is growing up poor. Of the more than 30,000 children living in poverty in the District last year, 90 percent were black, 8 percent Hispanic, and less than half a percent were white. Nationwide, Hispanic children now comprise the largest group of children living in poverty, and the rate of poverty for both black and Hispanic children is approximately three times the rate of poverty for white children.
In addition to the challenges of widespread poverty, the Post also recently reported on the high rate of self-reported suicide attempts by District middle school students. D.C. students consistently report double the national average of 6.3 percent.
Challenging as the conditions of poverty may be for adults, the most innocent victims of these conditions are children. And as these statistics demonstrate, in the District, an unconscionable number of children are more challenged now than ever.