For the first time in recent history, a majority of the schoolchildren attending U.S. public schools come from low income families, according to a report by the Southern Education Foundation from the latest data collected from the states by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
The report shows that in 2013, 51% of the students across the nation’s public schools were low income in 2013 – low income is defined as are eligible for reduced-price lunches because their household income is no more than 185% of the poverty threshold. As an example, a student in a household with a single parent with an annual income of less than $27,991 is classified as low income.
According to NCES data, about 30% of Hispanic children under 18 live in poverty, compared with 20% of children nationwide. About 5.4 million Hispanic children live in poverty in the U.S. but Hispanics were the only major racial or ethnic group to see a statistically significant decline in its poverty rate, according in the 2013 census. The drop in the poverty rate among Hispanics – from 25.6% in 2012 to 23.5% in 2013 – contributed to the first decline in the nation’s overall poverty rate since 2006. Poverty rates still remain very high for Hispanics who do not speak English well.
The implications of poverty on the education of the next generation of Americans can’t be underestimated – the top performing nations in international comparisons of student achievement have low rates of childhood poverty.
For more information, visit www.southerneducation.org