Data shows more than 50,000 Kansas kids live in concentrated poverty

TOPEKA, Kan (WIBW) --- According to a new data snapshot 51,000 kids in Kansas are living in areas of concentrated poverty.

“Concentrated poverty is defined as an area where more than 40 percent of households are living below the poverty line. So it’s different than regular poverty in that your whole neighborhood and community around you is experiencing the same poverty situation,” Kansas Action for Children’s President, John Wilson, said.

Wilson said children who grow up in these areas may go through a lack of critical support or even long term health problems.

“We’ve seen areas where it starts to affect rates of asthma, stroke, heart disease, and other things are all a manifestation of the stress that’s created when you have families living in poverty,” he said.

Wilson believes more access to work and family support programs is needed for the numbers to change.

“We have laws on the books that make it harder for Kansas families to access work and family support programs. Programs that help them put food on the table or pay their bills, or afford their housing, or even afford child care,” he explained.

Wilson said he hopes to change the way people think about children who live in poverty.

“I would ask every Kansan see in other kids the faces of their own kids and realize that this is a problem that we actually have solutions to. And it’s going to be solved when we all start collaborating and we all start working together,” he added.

Overall data shows that more than 100,000 children in Kansas lived in poverty.