Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, as analyzed by Connecticut Voices for Children, detailed the level of poverty and uninsured rates in Connecticut, its counties, and its major cities.
These highlights the different realities of children in Connecticut. While median household income was more than $67,000 in 2013, 14.5% of all children (113,000) in our state lived in poverty.
Who are these children and where do they live? Most of our children living in poverty live in communities of concentrated poverty, as seen in child poverty rates of more than 47% in Hartford; 40% in Waterbury; and over 32% in Bridgeport, New Britain and New Haven.
Poverty rates differ by race and ethnicity as well as by town. Among Connecticut children, Hispanics had the highest levels of poverty (32.9%), followed by African Americans (28.2%) and White residents (5.6%).
Given what we know about the adverse consequences of child poverty on long term development, educational achievement and lifetime earnings, these numbers call out for large scale policy changes to give all children in our state a fair chance at success.
Strategic policy changes and investments can make a difference, as indicated by the data on uninsured in our state. In 2013, only 4.3% of Connecticut children lacked health insurance, compared with 7.1% nationwide. Thanks to state investment in the HUSKY health insurance program, almost 96% of children in our state had the coverage necessary to access preventive health care. The challenge for us is to apply the same commitment to ending child poverty as we have shown in addressing the crisis in health access. State and federal health reforms will likely lead to further improvements in uninsured rates in 2014, as more residents sign up for health coverage through Access Health Connecticut, the health insurance marketplace.