Conservative data and analysis holds that three out of every 20 Americans live in poverty in the United States today. It’s worse than that for kids – and it’s toughest for families with children. More than five out of 20 American children under the age of five live in poverty today. And children of color are far more likely than so-called White children to be living in poverty. I guarantee this essay will upset a fondly and very widely held applecart of belief.
This essay cites data presented in the recent national report prepared by Bread for the World, “a collective Christian voice” based in the United States, “working to end hunger and poverty”. That report focuses on poverty in Black children in the USA as compared to the overall population of children. This essay spotlights how Wisconsin compares to other states.
Wisconsin has the fifth highest rate of African-American child poverty in the USA.
Mississippi is the only Deep South state worse than Wisconsin – and just barely.
(44.1% of Black children in Wisconsin live in poverty, while 44.6% of Black children in Mississippi live in poverty.)
The three worst states are our Upper Midwest neighbors, Iowa, Ohio, and Michigan, in all of which, more than half of all Black children live in poverty!
Nine states possess an African-American child poverty rate that is more than double the overall child poverty rate in that state.
Those states (ranked in order from the very worst, to the least worst) are Iowa (with more than triple the overall rate of child poverty in that state!), Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
Wisconsin ranks third worst in the nation in relative disparity of child poverty, which compares the poverty rate of Black children with the overall rate of child poverty in that state.
Note that these nine states are contiguous. And note that not a single Deep South state is in this list of the nine states where the rate of Black child poverty is more than twice the overall rate of child poverty in that state.
Forget about Alabama, Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, etc. – Wisconsin can only be ‘proud’ that we’re ‘not as bad as Iowa and Minnesota’.
And Illinois can be ‘proud’ that it’s ‘not as bad as Wisconsin’.
The Milwaukee/Waukesha/West Allis metropolitan area is number 10 on the list of metropolitan areas in the entire United States with the highest rates of African-American child poverty relative to the overall rate of child poverty in that region in 2011.
Wisconsin’s largest urban/suburban area ranks tenth worst in the entire country.
49.6 percent of African American children in the Milwaukee metropolitan area live in poverty, compared to an overall child poverty rate in that region of 22.4 percent.
The only two Deep South metropolitan areas with relative rates of Black child poverty that are higher than the Milwaukee metro area are the Chattanooga metropolitan area and the Greenville/Mauldin/Easley metropolitan area.
Americans have long been afflicted by, and many still believe (whether quietly and privately, or overtly) the racist myths we have all been taught by various sources from one generation to the next. Are you among those who believe that well-documented information, such as is presented in the Bread for the World report, is not evidence of injustice and oppression, but is instead evidence of the inherent inferiority of people of color? Do you still harbor a belief that so-called “races” of human beings can be differentiated in terms of intelligence, athletic ability, sense of value for human life, “natural rhythm”, criminal tendencies, or a predilection for, and tolerance of poverty and suffering? Do you deny the well-established scientific evidence that there is only one biological race of human beings on the planet – the human race – and that so-called “races” of people are historically and culturally defined, not biologically/genetically defined? Allow me to refer you to the easily understood, enlightening book by eminent evolutionary biologist Dr. Joseph Graves, Jr.:
“The Race Myth – Why We Pretend Race Exists in America”