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Peter Edelman of the Center for American Progress Poverty Task Force discusses children in the United States, the largest segment of our society living in poverty.


Child Poverty

Poverty can impede children’s ability to learn and contribute to social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Poverty also can contribute to poor health and mental health. Risks are greatest for children who experience poverty when they are young and/or experience deep and persistent poverty.

  • Number of children in the world 2.2 billion.
  • Number in poverty 1 billion (every second child).
  • According to UNICEF, 24,000 children die each day due to poverty.
  • Children represent a disproportionate share of the poor in the United States; they are 25 percent of the total population, but 35 percent of the poor population. Nearly 14 million children– 19% of all children in the US– live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $22,050 a year for a family of four. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 41% of children live in low-income families. SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008, Report P60, n. 236, Table B-2, pp. 50-5.
  • Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen. State of the World, Issue 287 - Feb 1997, New Internationalist.

Research is clear that poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s well-being. Which is why investments in the most vulnerable, our children is so critical.


Drop Out Crisis Statistics

  • 25 percent of all students; nearly 40 percent of black and Hispanic kids fail to graduate on time.
  • 1.3 million students drop out of high school each year.
  • One third of all children – and half of low income and minority youth – fail to graduate on time.
  • Only 10% of students who enroll in college graduate, and
  • Only 3% of 21st Century jobs are available for unskilled employees.


The Economic Impact

  • In 1971, male dropouts earned $35,087 (in 2002 dollars), falling to $23,903 in 2002, a decline of 35 percent.
  • In the same period, the earnings of female dropouts fell from $19,888 to $17,114.
  • If the dropouts from the class of 2009 graduated, an additional $319 billion in wages, taxes and productivity over their working lives would have been generated.
  • If the entire 2009 class graduated, our nation could save $174 billion in healthcare costs, and
  • If the graduation rate of male students increased by 5%, the nation would gain $7.7 billion in crime related savings.


A Solution

Education and economic development are key facets of community transformation. To break the chains of poverty, KENO Fund provides the same resources to kid-preneurs as every determined entrepreneur - access to capital and practical training.  Globally, it means students are more likely to stay in school to get an education which leads to a higher probability for economic success thus breaking the cycle of poverty.

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