Dear friends and colleagues,
A massive spotlight has been shone on schools in New Orleans both locally and nationally. But what about the condition of our children overall? The future rests in their hands, yet surprisingly little attention has been given to their situation. That’s why it is almost unbelievable that today 39 percent of New Orleans children live in poverty – a full 17 percentage points higher than the U.S. average.
The wages of adult workers in a child’s family determine their poverty status and many studies have concluded that poverty affects brain development. Unfortunately, scientific research shows that child poverty can lead to increased trauma in young people’s brains and now scholars assert that poverty may be the single greatest threat to children’s healthy brain development. Without healthy brain development, New Orleans’ kids risk lifelong difficulties in learning, memory, and self-regulation.
Working parents and families in a lower-wage economy like New Orleans are going to need additional supports such as innovative, multi-generational programs that are being piloted in other cities. Couple those with an increase in wages that inches us toward family-sustaining incomes for workers, and then we could move closer to lifting our children and families out of poverty.
To learn more, check out New Orleans Kids, Working Parents, and Poverty at:
Bringing you the data you need to make informed decisions,
The Data Center team
Vicki Mack, Allison Plyer, Nihal Shrinath and Whitney Soenksen