Emily Rice Published

Black Children Most Likely To Live In Poverty In W.Va., New Report Finds

Three children are seen walking a forested pathDan Kitwood/Getty Images

The Race for Results report, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, standardizes scores across 12 indicators representing well-being milestones to measure aspects of health from the child’s infanthood to adulthood and converting them into a scale ranging from 0 to 1,000.

Latino children scored highest in West Virginia with a score of 568. West Virginia children of two or more races had a score of 513. White children came in third place with a score of 509. Black children came in last place with a score of 417 out of a possible 1,000.

In West Virginia, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander races results were suppressed. This means the data pool was so small, that releasing it would identify the participants.

Leslie Boissiere, the vice president of external affairs at the foundation, said West Virginia’s high school graduation rates are above the national average, but other indicators are below the national average.

“There are some some areas where West Virginia has done well,” Boissiere said. “But in the area, beyond high school, as well as looking at the rate of poverty for all kids of all racial and ethnic groups. It’s an area where the state is underperforming compared to the nation as a whole.”

According to Boissiere, a child tax credit could help the poverty rate in West Virginia.

“We know that based on the data and the evidence, it is an effective way,” Boissiere said. “Medicaid expansion is another way that we know is effective, allowing kids to remain in foster care beyond the age of 18 to ensure that those kids have a higher likelihood of graduating from high school on time, and also earning a post-secondary degree and being financially stable. So we have evidence of some programs that have been effective in lifting kids out of poverty, and those should be effective for the state legislature to consider as well.”

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.