The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book, just out recently, finds Texas mired in the bottom third among the states in children’s well-being. The latest
annual data show 24% of Texas children, almost one out of every four, living in poverty – well above the rate in the rest of the country. At a briefing on the Texas data, the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities cited evidence that the number of children in poverty has been on the rise, with 2.4 million U.S. children falling into poverty over the past decade—“and one of every six of those kids are Texans,” said the CPPP.
A startling statistic from the Kids Count study reveals that Texas accounted for one million of the 1.8 million net gain in the total U.S. child population from 2000 to 2010. More than two-thirds of the state’s child population growth occurred in just eight counties: Bexar, Collin, Denton, Fort Bend, Harris, Hidalgo, Tarrant, and Travis. Meanwhile, the child population actually declined in 147 of the state’s 254 counties.
CPPP researchers today called the state’s growing child population “an asset, not a liability, as long as we educate them and enable them to contribute to our economy. . . . An
expanding child population is only good for Texas if we invest in kids now. We do big things in Texas – but that will only continue if our future innovators and leaders are healthy and educated.”