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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Costs of Poverty

The New York Times reported on January 25, 2007 about a recent study on the long term costs of childhood poverty.

  • Children who grow up poor cost the economy $500 billion a year because they are less productive, earn less money, commit more crimes and have more health-related expenses
  • authors had not specified the high cost of eliminating child poverty, which census figures show affected 12.3 million children in 2005, or 17.1 percent of those younger than 18.
  • Poor schooling, lack of employment and the high arrest rate among poor young men, especially black men, have emerged as major concerns of liberal and conservative experts alike.
  • Social research and neuroscience have shown the importance of early childhood development on later functioning, Jane Knitzer, director of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University, told the panel. Yet the Early Head Start program serves just 62,000 infants and children, Ms. Knitzer said.
Find out more about the study at the Center for American Progress. Their website says:

More specifically, we estimate that childhood poverty each year:
  • Reduces productivity and economic output by about 1.3 percent of GDP
  • Raises the costs of crime by 1.3 percent of GDP
  • Raises health expenditures and reduces the value of health by 1.2 percent of GDP.
I will point out that the NY Times article quoted conservatives who would agree with the $500 Billion price tag saying it maybe slightly off but close enough for the purposes of discussion.

Read the 23 page report. Here's a Google search for the report, with other news articles if the NYTimes one is archived.

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