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New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau from the American Community Survey (ACS) shows that poverty in Arizona remains a top threat to children. Child poverty in Arizona is significantly more prominent than the national average. Both the overall poverty rate and child poverty rate in Arizona dropped less than half a percent between 2011 and 2012 and poverty remains significantly higher than it was before the Great Recession of 2008. In 2012, more than one out of four children in Arizona was living in poverty (family income below $18,284 for a family of three).

chart for poverty 9-19 enews story blue redOnly 44 large cities in the country showed a statistically significant increase in child poverty rates from 2011 to 2012. Phoenix and Mesa are both on this sad list. In Phoenix the rate of poor children rose from 32 to 36 percent and in Mesa the rate rose from 22 to 28 percent.

It is clear that the slow economic recovery is leaving thousands of children behind. Poverty puts children in hardworking families at high risk for hunger, untreated health problems, instability moving from place to place and school to school, learning delays, and neglect. Political and community leaders should make this a top priority because without strategic action, these high poverty rates put our future economy and workforce at high risk as well.

Click here to see the child poverty rates by city and county in Arizona and where they rank compared to cities and counties nationwide.

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