From the USA Today, writer Liz Szabo breaks down the numbers.
The rate of children living in poverty this year will climb to nearly 22%, the highest rate in two decades, according to an analysis by the non-profit Foundation for Child Development. Nearly 17% of children were living in poverty in 2006, before the recession began.
The foundation's Child and Youth Well-Being Index tracks 28 key statistics about children, such as health insurance coverage, parents' employment, infant mortality and preschool enrollment.
The report projects that the percentage of children living in families with an "insecure" source of food has risen from about 17% in 2007 to nearly 18% in 2010, an increase of 750,000 children. Up to 500,000 children may be homeless this year, living either in shelters or places not meant for habitation.
Judith Palfrey, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says family poverty increases many risks for children, including low birth weight, premature delivery, learning problems, asthma and other health problems. But the conservative Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector says the index offers little new information. He says the report doesn't mention that poor children's family incomes are supplemented by programs such as food stamps and housing assistance. "Most of the report is an advertising tool for more government programs and spending, which are pretty ineffective in increasing child well-being," he says.