One out of Three D.C. Children Lived in Poverty During 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 29, 2006
CONTACT: Jennifer Adach
PHONE: 202-986-2200 x3018
Washington, D.C. – August 30, 2006 – One out of every three children in the District of Columbia lived in poverty in 2005, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released yesterday. Overall, the poverty rate for D.C. grew despite gains in the local economy. Nineteen percent of District residents lived in poverty, up from 16.9 percent the previous year. This is the highest poverty rate for D.C. since 1998-99.
The District of Columbia has the largest rate of people living in extreme poverty, which is below 50 percent of the poverty level. For a family of four, this would translate to an annual income of less than $10,000.
“With ten percent of District residents living in extreme poverty, it is vitally important to make sure they have access to the nutrition assistance they need,” said Kimberly Perry, founding director of D.C. Hunger Solutions, a project of the Food Research and Action Center. “These latest poverty numbers correlate with the last estimates of food insecurity in the District of Columbia and only underscore how vital it is to recommit ourselves to the Ten-Year Plan to End Childhood Hunger in the District of Columbia which paves the way to making sure our nutrition programs are strong, and ensuring that every child in the District has access to three healthy meals each day.”
Nationally, the poverty rate remained level from the previous year, holding at 12.6 percent. To be considered poor, families must have an income less than the federal poverty line. In 2005, the Census Bureau poverty threshold was $19,971 for a family of four.
Stagnant wages, rising health, energy and other costs, and an inadequate government response means that the economic growth over the past few years is not reaching families at the bottom half. Families are finding themselves struggling more to make ends meet to cover basic necessities such as food, housing, transportation and health care. Nationally, 37 million live in poverty, with 12.9 million children considered to be poor.
“These numbers only highlight the need for a robust national commitment to address poverty and growing economic insecurity,” said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). “While federal nutrition programs are helping families put food on the table, the nation needs to take steps to bolster families’ incomes and health coverage, and we need to do more to strengthen and ensure accessibility to programs such as food stamps, the Women Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program, and the school meals programs.”
D.C. Hunger Solutions, a project of the Food Research and Action Center, is dedicated to fighting hunger and obesity and improving the nutrition, health and well-being of children, youth and families in the District of Columbia.
The Food Research and Action Center (www.frac.org) is the leading national organization working for more effective public and private policies to eradicate domestic hunger and undernutriiton.