Half of Children in Nevada In or Near Poverty

This is the first in a series of economic data about Nevada we will feature over the course of the next few weeks. It’s the perfect opportunity having just passed the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, and President Obama describing economic immobility and inequality as a systemic and pervasive problem, and “the defining challenge of our time.”

First, we begin with children in Nevada. They can’t be called lazy. They can’t be blamed for their circumstances. They are innocent. How is the world treating them?

Half of all children in Nevada live in households in, or near the brink, of poverty.

According to the Kids Count Data Center (a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation), 51 percent of children in Nevada live in households with earnings less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Hispanic Children had it even worse at 66 percent; white children at 36% in 2012.

Many experts believe that because the Federal Poverty Level only defines how much money a family needs to meet basic food requirements, it isn’t an adequate measure. The Center for American Progress defines income lower than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level as the “brink of poverty.” That’s less than $47,000 per year for a family of four.

The Economic Policy Institute has a Family Budget Calculator which shows that a family of four in the Las Vegas area needs 66,500 annual salary to cover basic costs. So even the 200% of FPL is barely even sufficient.