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USA Today Network Louisiana
The number of Louisiana children living in poverty has remained virtually unchanged since the late ’90s, according to an annual report issued by an advocacy group that has called on state government to create “clear pathways out of poverty” for families.
The 2017 Louisiana Kids Count, a data report compiled by the New Orleans-based Agenda for Children, indicates about 313,000 children — or 28 percent — live in families with incomes below the federal poverty line.
That’s up just slightly from 1999 when around 320,000 or 26 percent of children were living in poverty, according to the oldest data available from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Center.
The number of children living in “extreme” poverty has grown slightly from 11 percent to 14 percent — or from 129,000 to 156,000 during the same time period.
Findings by the Annie E. Casey Foundation suggest poverty is one of the greatest threats to healthy child development.
Growing up in poverty can negatively affect children’s cognitive development and their ability to learn as well as contribute to behavioral, social and emotional problems and poor health outcomes, researchers say.
Louisiana ranks 48th out of 50 states in overall child well-being because of indicators closely tied to poverty.
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