According to a new report released by the Pew Hispanic Center , the children of Latin immigrants aged 17 and younger represent the highest number of children living in poverty in the U.S. It is worth noting, however, that if this age range is not taking into consideration, poverty among Latin children is only surpassed by that among African-American children. “The poverty rate among black children is the nation’s highest. In 2010, 39.1% of black children lived in poverty, while 35% of Latino children and 12.4% of white children lived in poverty.” The report states that “the spread of poverty across the U.S. that began at the onset of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and accelerated last year hit one fast-growing demographic group especially hard: Latino children. The U.S. Census Bureau released a report in mid-September that found this demographic comprised of “46.2 million people in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009-the fourth consecutive annual increase and the largest number in 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.” The Pew Hispanic report also found that in 2010, at least 6.1 million Latino children, more than any other group, were living in poverty. “In 2010, 37.3% of poor children were Latino, 30.5% were white and 26.6% were black.” It also indicates that “of the 6.1 million Latino children living in poverty, more than two-thirds (4.1 million) are the children of immigrant parents. The other 2 million are the children of parents born in this country. Among the 4.1 million impoverished Latino children of immigrants, the vast majority (86.2%) were born in the U.S.” The report also highlights that the rates of poverty vary widely among Latino children; for instance, families headed by a single mother have the highest poverty rates (57.3%), Latino children with an unemployed parent (43.5%), while families where at least one parent has a college degree have the lowest (8.7%) poverty rate. A report issued by theResearch Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University (FIU) indicates that in 2010, unemployment for Hispanic workers in Florida, while not as high as jobless rates for African-American workers, was above the national average. According to Half in Ten, which is a campaign to cut poverty in half over 10 years, more than 16% of Florida’s population lives in poverty. The campaign recently released an interactive map that shows that the child poverty rates in Florida’s congressional districts reaches about 23%, with District 3 (which includes the city of Gainesville and surrounding areas) reaching 40%, on the other hand, District 22 (which includes Delray Beach and West Palm Beach all the way up to Jupiter) had the lowest child poverty rate at just 13%. These reports offer chilling results. The point of citing these reports is not only to raise awareness of the suffering that has befallen many, but it is also meant to put things in perspective: instead of creating such a fuss around the deep-seated systematic flaws within our nation’s immigration system, would it not be best for our lawmakers to focus on creating solutions that will yield concrete results to ameliorate the lives of these poverty-stricken children?
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