Bringing the Economy Home

PBS Frontline Documentary ‘Poor Kids’ Highlights Growing Poverty In The U.S., In Idaho The Story Is Similar

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A child waits with a box of food at a food distribution center.

As the holiday season gets underway, the PBS show Frontline premiered a new documentary this week that tells the story of child poverty in America through the eyes of kids.

It’s called Poor Kids, and the hour-long program weaves together the similar stories of three families living in poverty, and trying to work their way out of it.

For a family of four, an annual income of $23,050 or less is considered in poverty.  Today’s median household income is $50,054.  In Idaho, the median income is $46,423.  Last year, 7 percent of Idahoans had incomes that amounted to less than 50 percent of the poverty line, according to a Census Bureau report.

U.S. Census Bureau

Click the chart to enlarge.

As Frontline points out, the child poverty rate in the U.S. has increased over the last few years, with between 13.4 and 16.5 million kids living in poverty.  That means about one in five American children live in poverty.

Idaho is following a similar path.  According to 2010 U.S. Census data 19 percent, or more than 80,000 Idaho kids are living at or below the federal poverty level.

The national average in 2010 was 21.6 percent, the highest level of child poverty since Census started measuring for it in 2001.

Here’s a list of ways to donate food, clothing and money to local charitable organizations in Idaho:


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