Spot survey shows big impact of pandemic on low-income

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – A summer survey reveals some disturbing facts about how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting low-income families who already were on the verge of crisis.

That comes as new information for the U.S Census Bureau reveals that 21.7 percent of Kentucky children lived in poverty in 2019, which is not statistically different than the 2018 rate of 23.0 percent.

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Data collected this summer as part of the Household Pulse Survey shows the pandemic is impacting many families’ food access and housing stability, according to Kentucky Youth Advocates.

Furthermore, an estimated 42 percent of Kentucky children in renter households were behind on rent and/or did not get enough to eat and 20 percent of adults with children in the household reported the children weren’t eating enough because they couldn’t afford enough food, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, from the Census information, only four states have a higher poverty rate among children than Kentucky. The American Community Survey data also show that in 2019 the poverty rate for Kentucky children under age 5 was 25.6 percent, demonstrating a disproportionate impact on young children.

“While child poverty rates have remained steady in Kentucky in recent years, we know it is still far too high. And the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to take a toll on families—not only physically and emotionally, but financially as well,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates.

Additionally, due to historical and ongoing practices that have negatively impacted people of color in housing, employment, and financial services, children of color in Kentucky continue to have higher poverty rates than their White peers. The Census Bureau estimates show that in 2019, 32.2 percent of Black children and 30.3 percent of Hispanic children lived in poverty compared to 19.3 percent of non-Hispanic White children.

“Children can thrive when their parents are able to earn a living and meet the basic needs of their family. We must be steadfast in efforts to ensure the families of every Kentucky child can earn enough to put food on the table and provide safe and stable housing, no matter their race or zip code,” continued Dr. Brooks.