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Defining Poverty and Why It Matters for Children

The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) provides a variety of fact sheets and stats on child poverty through its Family Income & Jobs initiative.

In order to provide our children with a fair start in life, CDF’s Family Income & Jobs Division creates and sustains American communities that work to strengthen every family’s capacity to provide for its children. The division supports parents in securing employment that pays livable wages and receiving education and training so they may compete for better jobs.

One brief but enlightening report, “Defining Poverty and Why It Matters for Children” (PDF), notes the following:

In 2003 social insurance and means-tested public benefits lifted 27 million people out of poverty, including 5 million children. Despite the noteworthy success of public benefit programs … unacceptable numbers of families and children remain in poverty and poverty rates in the United States exceed those of other wealthy industrialized nations …

A report by the Urban Institute found that if families with children had full access to government programs … poverty would decline by more than 20 percent, and extreme poverty would be reduced by 70 percent. Instead, millions of families with children eligible for these programs do not receive the benefits and continue to live in poverty.

The CDF site features a wealth of advocacy information and links, including a timeline of victories since it was founded in 1973.

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