The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Beyond Ferguson: The troubled state of America’s children, by the numbers

(Children’s Defense Fund)

The 2014-15 school year is beginning at a time when all eyes are on the troubling events in Ferguson, Mo., where unrest continues after the Aug. 9 shooting of a black teenager, Michael Brown, by a white police officer and charges of systemic racial injustice have been raised. As all this unfolds, here’s a look at how children in Ferguson and across the country live.  The following information was taken from the 2014 State of America’s Children report issued by the Children’s Defense Fund, which you can read in full below.

From the introduction:

Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty, the United States is still not a fair playing field for millions of children afflicted by preventable poverty, hunger, homelessness, sickness, poor education and violence in the world’s richest economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $15.7 trillion.
Every fifth child (16.1 million) is poor, and every tenth child (7.1 million) is extremely poor. Children are the poorest age group and the younger they are the poorer they are. Every fourth infant, toddler and preschool child (5 million) is poor; 1 in 8 is extremely poor. A majority of our one- and two-year-olds are already children of color. In five years children of color who are disproportionately poor, nearly 1 in 3, will be a majority of all children in America and of our future workforce, military and consumers. But millions of them are unready for school, poorly educated and unprepared to face the future. Nearly 60 percent of all our children and more than 80 percent of our Black and nearly 75 percent of our Latino children cannot read or compute at grade level in fourth and eighth grade and so many drop out of school before graduating. Seventy-five percent of young people ages 17-24 cannot get into the military because of poor literacy, health or prior incarceration.
The greatest threat to America’s economic, military and national security comes from no enemy without but from our failure, unique among high income nations, to invest adequately and fairly in the health, education and sound development of all of our young.
Guns kill or injure a child or teen every half-hour.
• In 2010, 2,694 children and teens were killed by guns and 15,576 were injured by guns. Guns killed more infants, toddlers and preschoolers than law enforcement officers in the line of duty.
• U.S. children and teens are 17 times more likely to die from gun violence than their peers in 25 other high-income countries.
• Since 1963, three times as many children and teens have died from guns on U.S. soil than U.S. soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
• Gun violence disproportionately affects children of color. In 2010, black children and teens were nearly five times and Hispanic children and teens were more than three times more likely to be killed by guns than white children and teens.
• U.S. military and law enforcement agencies possess 4 million guns. U.S. civilians have 310 million.
• Every year, U.S. companies manufacture enough bullets to fire 31 rounds into every one of our citizens.

The full report:

State of America’s Children