Study shows 23 percent of Oregon children live in poverty

Portland, Ore. -- According to the 2014 Progress Report from Children First for Oregon about 23 percent of Oregon children live at or below the poverty level.

This rate is a decline from last year's 23.6 percent poverty rate in Oregon but is still above the national average of 22.6 percent according to the report, which put the poverty level at $23,050 for a family of four.

The 2014 Progress Report shows that despite signs of economic recovery, Oregon is in the bottom half of all states for child poverty, with nearly one in four Oregon children growing up poor.

Some of their key findings include the following statistics:

· About 54,000 Oregon children lack health insurance coverage, ranking the state 30th in the country for the percent of children with health insurance.

· Since the 2009 state passage of the Healthy Kids insurance program, Oregon has had the country's second-highest reduction in the rate of children who lack health insurance. The figure has been almost halved from 12.1 percent to 6.4 percent.

· More children enter foster care in Oregon than in nearly any other state -- 1.5 percent in Oregon compared to 0.9 percent nationally -- and more of those children stay in foster care until they turn 18.

· Only 8 percent of children who age out of foster care earn a college degree, compared to 41 percent of their peers.

· About 19.2 percent of requests for domestic violence services and shelter are unmet in the state, compared to 14 percent nationally.

· The cost of child care for an infant in Oregon averages about 18 percent of the median family income, and as much as 61 percent in single-parent households. The cost of child care is about $5,000 more than average annual tuition at Oregon's public universities.

· Lawmakers in 2013 added $7 million in funding for Employment-Related Day Care, which helps low-income working families with child care costs. Enrollment caps, however, mean the program helps less than a third of the state's low-income families with children.

· Median family income in 2012 inflation-adjusted dollars was $59,476 in Oregon, below the $62,527 nationally.

Children First for Oregon is a child advocacy nonprofit in Portland.

View the full study here:

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