One out of every five Nevada children lives in poverty, marking the highest youth poverty rate in the state’s recent history, according to the newly released 2011 installment of an annual report that tracks the well-being of children.
“It’s not a surprising finding but a disappointing one,” Stephen Brown, executive director of Nevada Kids Count, said Tuesday.
The increase is a marked one from 2001, when one out of 10 children lived in poverty. The report charted improvements in other areas: the rates of teen births, infant mortalities, child deaths, teen deaths and high school dropouts all declined, according to the report, which is based on statistics obtained from numerous public agencies and state sources.
“We expect poverty to exacerbate those problems,” said Brown, who also is an economics professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and director of the Center for Business and Economic Research.
According to the report, the Census Bureau estimated that 21.3 percent of Nevada children younger than 18 were living in poverty in 2010, slightly lower than the 21.6 percent for the nation. Nevada’s rate in 2009 was 17.6 percent.
Increased rates of poverty will have a negative effect on children, just not immediately, said Shannon Monnat, a UNLV assistant professor of sociology specializing in health disparities and social inequality. Children who live in poverty will experience deteriorating health, something that will manifest in a few years, she said.