East Texas job growth reduces child poverty
Longview, TX — Gregg and Rusk counties have slightly fewer children living in poverty than the state average, while Upshur County is on par with Texas numbers, according to a national study on child well-being released Wednesday.
“A lot of that can be attributed to the job market and growth of Gregg County — Longview, Kilgore and the East Texas area,” Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said. “We are seeing more jobs, so people are able to work.”
The Kids Count data book was published Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which has studied economic data on children for the past decade.
The foundation found that child poverty increased in 38 states from 2000-09. As a result, 14.7 million children — 20 percent — were poor in 2009. That represents a 2.5 million increase from 2000, when 17 percent of the nation’s youth lived in low-income homes.
Texas ranks 35th among the nation’s states and has been in the bottom third for the past decade. The state also ranks ninth worst in terms of child poverty.
Gregg County is bucking trends of increasing children living in poverty.
Data released by the foundation showed in 2009, there were 7,106 children classified as living in poverty — more than 1,000 children fewer than five years ago when there were 8,147 children living in poverty. Presented as a percentage, that number has decreased from 27.1 percent to 22.4 percent of the county’s total child population living in poverty.
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