Don't roll your eyes about yet another mention of this eternal issue; this is important. Yes, the plight of low-income Alabama children has marginally improved -- the state is now ranked No. 44 by the annual Kids Count report -- but the overall status of American children in poverty remains one of the United States' largest social and economic dilemmas.
In its latest report on the subject, researchers at the Annie E. Casey foundation wrote, "Although the economic well-being of the nation’s children improved slightly from 2010 to 2011, the negative impact of the recession remains evident. In 2011, the child poverty rate stood at 23 percent, or 16.4 million children — an increase of 3 million since 2005. The number of children living in households spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing — more than 29 million in 2011 — saw minor improvement from the previous year, but was still about 2 million more than in 2005. Similarly, the number of children whose parents lacked full-time, year-round employment was nearly 20 percent higher than in 2008."
We should be thankful that Alabama no longer is in the bottom five of the rankings, but let's not kid ourselves. The state is still ranked extremely low -- which says, yet again, that the factors that contribute to childhood poverty (public education, job creation, state support, crime reduction) are alive and well in our state.
-- Phillip Tutor