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Nearly 130,000 children live in poverty in Bexar County

State of San Antonio Children 2016 report released

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SAN ANTONIO – The Center for Public Policy Priorities released its State of San Antonio Children 2016 report Wednesday morning at a news conference attended by Mayor Ivy Taylor.

Researchers found Bexar County's child poverty rates were far too high with wide disparities across race and ethnicity.

"Looking deep into the data, we found that too many children in San Antonio today continue to face tremendous barriers to opportunity because of the color of their skin," CPPP Executive Director Ann Beeson said.

Nearly 130,000 local children live in poverty, and most of those children, 103,000, are Latino. In Bexar County, poverty rates for Latino and black children are nearly three times higher than for white or Asian children.

According to the report, white children in Bexar County generally have much greater financial resources and are more likely to live in low-poverty areas, whereas the majority of Latino children are more likely to live in moderate- to high-poverty areas. Twenty-four percent of children in San Antonio live in high-poverty neighborhoods, one of the lowest percentages of all major cities in Texas.

The research showed San Antonio was one of the metro areas with the highest degrees of segregation of the wealthy. Children who lived in more segregated areas had less economic mobility than those who lived in less segregated areas.

Researchers said more than one in three children in Bexar County lived with a single parent. They said single-parent families in Bexar County were more likely to live in poverty than married families. Local single-mother families were found to be nearly twice as likely to live in poverty as families supported by a single father. Forty-five percent of single-mother families who are Latino live in poverty, compared to 22 percent of white, single-mother families.

More than one in four children in Bexar County were food insecure, which means they lack consistent access to enough food for a healthy diet.

"This is unacceptable," said Taylor, who spoke at the event. "We have to do better and be better for our children, our communities and our entire city."

On a positive note, Bexar County had one of the lowest child uninsured rates in Texas and had improved coverage rates for children of all races and ethnicities. The research showed Latino children were the most likely to be uninsured. Women in the San Antonio area are more likely to be insured than in other large urban counties in Texas, but nearly one in four Bexar County women between the ages of 15 and 44 does not have health insurance.

Key policy recommendations include:

  • Collect more data that is broken down by race and ethnicity.
  • Create partnerships between schools, workforce development programs and businesses to promote pathways out of poverty and better support families.
  • Increase access to affordable health insurance for underserved families and women of reproductive age.
  • Expand access to school-based child nutrition programs.

"My goal is to connect every San Antonian, no matter their age, gender or ethnicity, to opportunities for prosperity," Taylor said. "One way we are hoping to fill the gaps is through the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which focuses on improving the life outcomes of our young men of color. From educating our smallest citizens, to providing job training for adults, to caring for our aging seniors, we must work together to ensure that every citizen becomes a resource and not a responsibility."

The State of San Antonio Children 2016 report is part of the State of Texas Children 2016 statewide report. Both are connected to the Kids County project, a national effort to track the status of U.S. children. It is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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