TOPEKA — Nearly 46,000 Kansas children live in high-poverty areas — about 32,000 more since 2000 — according to a new KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey show that 7 percent of Kansas’ children are growing up in areas where at least 30 percent of residents live below the federal poverty level — about $22,000 per year for a family of four. In 2000, 14,000 kids, or 2 percent, were living in such communities, which often lack access to resources that are critical to healthy growth and development, including quality education, medical care and safe outdoor spaces.
The jump from 14,000 children in 2000 to 46,000 children in 2010 represents a 229 percent increase.
“Children who live in high-poverty areas face difficulties in almost all aspects of their lives,” said Shannon Cotsoradis, president and CEO of Kansas Action for Children. “Reducing poverty is not only the key to improving these children’s futures but also instrumental to the future success of our entire state.”
Counties in Kansas with areas of concentrated poverty and percent of that county’s children living in those areas:
• Crawford County — 15.5 percent
• Douglas County — 12.3 percent
• Ellis County — 7.7 percent
• Labette County — 6.2 percent
• Lyon County — 14.2 percent
• Montgomery County — 4.7 percent
• Neosho County — 12.7 percent
• Riley County — 17.6 percent
• Sedgwick County — 2.5 percent
• Shawnee County — 18.3 percent
• Wyandotte County — 26.9 percent

The new numbers parallel data released in the 2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book, which indicated a significant jump in child poverty over the past decade, as well as an increase in kids living in low-income families. Overall, 18 percent of all Kansas children are living in poverty.
More information is available in the KIDS COUNT Data Center, which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of indicators of child well-being. The Data Center allows users to create rankings, maps and graphs for use in publications and on websites, and to view real-time information on mobile devices.