One in Four Tennessee Kids Living in Poverty

Feb 28, 2012

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A new study finds that one in four Tennessee children lives in poverty, and the problem is getting worse.

The data snapshot released last week by the Annie E. Casey Kids Count project shows that the number of Tennessee children living in concentrated poverty areas has doubled since 2000.

Linda O'Neal, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, says poverty impacts a child in ways you might never imagine.

"It really does adversely impact, not only their brain development, but also their long-term health. So we know this has an adverse impact on children's long-term prospects to be successful in school, and good parents, and productive employees in the future."

O'Neal says the increase in child poverty is likely due to the effect of the recession and the state's high unemployment rate. She also says that some current child assistance programs are being threatened with de-funding.