In newly released data it appears that poor families and children are being left behind as the benefits of a steadily growing economy fail to trickle down to their level.
Congress is currently preparing to issue additional tax cuts and cut funding for programs that serve low-income children and families, just as these numbers come to light.
Marian Wright Edelman, CEO and founder of Children's Defense Fund (CDF), says the persistent and growing high level of child poverty, reflects conscious and misguided choices.
She wonders how the Bush Administration and Congress can give enormous tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans who have benefited most from the economic recovery while threatening to cut the budgets for Medicaid, Food Stamps and other programs that assist poor children who continue to be left behind.
According to the CDF the number of children living in poverty in the United States now exceeds 13 million.
New health insurance data also released today serves to underscore the importance of maintaining these programs.
Apparently private health insurance coverage for children has declined since 2000, but because of the continued effectiveness of Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program in filling coverage gaps, health insurance for children nationally has remained stable and even slightly improved.
But apparently there are still 9.1 million uninsured children in the U.S.
In 2004 more than seven out of every ten poor children had at least one employed parent, but that is not enough to lift families out of poverty, as even if a parent with one child works full time at the federal minimum wage, the family still lives in poverty.
Child poverty has risen significantly among all racial groups since 2000, and extreme child poverty increased by 20 percent from 2000 to 2004 to reach almost 5.6 million children.
Extreme poverty is defined as living with an annual income of below $7,610 for a family of three.
Edelman says that while far less wealthy industrialized countries have committed to end child poverty, the United States is sliding backwards.
For additional information, please read Defining Poverty and Why It Matters for Children available online.