Omaha Public Radio News
1:43 pm
Fri September 30, 2011

Almost 1 in 5 kids in Nebraska are living in poverty

Omaha, NE – Census numbers released last week indicate approximately 18.2% of Nebraska's children were living below the poverty line in 2010.

Aubrey Mancuso is with Voices for Children. She says the number has been increasing since 2000 when Nebraska had a child poverty rate of 10%. The federal poverty line for a family of four in 2010 was $22,000. Mancuso says lawmakers need to take the poverty problem seriously because these kids are the state's next generation of workers and taxpayers.

She says research shows that living in poverty as a child can have consequences that last into adulthood. Mancuso says one of the biggest things policymakers can do to help is work to preserve federal safety net programs, "like SNAP which is also known as Food Stamps, for example, lifted over 1.7 million children out of poverty nationally in 2010. Another thing we can do on both the state and federal level is to preserve and expand tax credits for working families, like the Earned Income Tax credit that give families more money to save and pay off debt."

Mancuso says Nebraska could expand and improve work support for these families through child care subsidies.

Voices for Children is hosting a Step Up for Kids event on Tuesday, October 11th at the State Capitol. Details are available at voicesforchildren.com.