NC Budget and Tax Center, Poverty and Policy Matters

Poverty and Policy Matters: 1 in 4 North Carolina Children Live in Poverty

The latest data from the US Census Bureau find that 1 in 4 of North Carolina’s children live in poverty.  This is a five percentage point increase since the start of the Great Recession—a staggering one with important implications for the future of our state.

Children growing up in poverty face daily challenges that over a childhood accumulate into significant barriers to opportunity and mobility.  Recent evidence finds that children in the bottom 20% of the income distribution, those living in poverty, have just a 50/50 chance of moving out of poverty as adults. The greater the number of children living in poverty, the greater economic hardship we can anticipate in the future unless something is done to address child poverty and its worst impacts on a child’s life.

Evidence suggests that the best approach to child poverty protects children at a young age from its most damaging effects.  The latest data shows that nearly 1 in 3 children under the age of 5 are living in poverty, vulnerable to the long-term effects of toxic stress that affect brain development and long-term life chances.  Quality early childhood development programs that provide a learning environment with caring, consistent relationships with adults are demonstrated not only to minimize the affects of toxic stress but to deliver long-term significant economic returns.

Continuing to invest in a quality educational experience throughout the childhood years is critical.  But it is also important to build a quality community for children to grow up in.  Such communities provide mentorship and safety, foster healthy activities and well-being, and ensure a stable and affordable home.

Finally, child poverty is in direct relationship with the struggles of working parents.  It is therefore incumbent upon us to ensure that working parents are able to earn a living wage, balance their work-life responsibilities, and invest in their child’s future.

We must #talkpoverty and develop the will to solve these problems.

2 Comments


  1. Frances Jenkins

    September 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Is this the product of the last 140 years of Democrat rule?

  2. Linda

    September 26, 2012 at 5:00 am

    This is very sad news I must say. Well it is not really news, we all knew that poverty keep on becoming larger and larger. Our goverment is the one to lame. Their kids live in luxary apartment, eat organic food while other innocent kids have to survive on the streets. Unfair

Check Also

Failed tax-cut experiment hurts NC – don’t let it hurt the country

Senator Thom Tillis is trying to sell national ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

When the N.C. Senate elected Tom Fetzer to the UNC Board of Governors in March, it was widely seen a [...]

The 12 minutes spent on the phone with Duke Energy customer service shed no light on how — or if — c [...]

Crumbling ceilings. Failing air conditioning and heating systems. Broken down school buses. Mold inf [...]

This story has been updated with comments from Jim Womack, who did not respond earlier to questions. [...]

Last week, the General Assembly announced which legislators will serve on the Joint Legislative Task [...]

The latest effort in Washington to repeal and not actually replace the Affordable Care Act has a dif [...]

Conservative group “reviewing” bigoted attacks; funding from major NC corporations implicated Nearly [...]

5---number of days since Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham unveiled a new proposal to repeal [...]

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more