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Dallas Kids Still Abnormally Poor, Census Shows

Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week show that Dallas County children, on whole, are poorer than not only most other Texas children, but most other children in America’s largest cities.

Close to 30 percent of children in Dallas County between the ages of five and 17 live in poverty, the numbers show, nearly a five percent increase since 2007. The below chart shows the poverty rates for those aged children, in Dallas-area counties:

Source: U.S. Census data

Jump for even more disturbing news, and a few bright spots.

Okay, first with the bright spots. Dallas isn’t the worst county in Texas for child poverty, and it’s not even close. The five counties with the highest child poverty rates in 2011 (I removed Loving County from the list, because it’s the least populous county in the U.S., with only 82 residents.):

Brooks County: 48.1 percent
Hidalgo County: 46.2 percent
Cameron County: 45.5 percent
Starr County: 44.7 percent
Zapata County, Zavala County: 44.3 percent

Those six counties either hug the border or sit one county away from the border. Bleak stuff. Before I get to the bleakest data — the ones that show how poorly Dallas stacks up against the rest of America’s biggest cities – here are the overall poverty rates for the Dallas area. Most counties have oscillated slightly in recent years; Dallas has shot right for the bottom of the bucket.

Source: U.S. Census data

Now onto the part of the show where we compare Dallas to its similar cities, the fine folks in the other most-populous cities. Seems kids are doing a whole lot better in them than in Dallas, for the most part. These are based on county numbers for 2011:

New York (Bronx County: 41 percent; New York County: 28.8 percent; Queens County: 22.2 percent; Kings County: 33.3 percent; Richmond County: 16 percent)
Philadelphia (Philadelphia County): 38.6 percent
Dallas (Dallas County): 28.3 percent
Houston (Harris County): 27.5 percent
Chicago (Cook County): 26 percent
Los Angeles (Los Angeles County): 25.1 percent
San Antonio (Bexar County): 24.2 percent
Phoenix (Maricopa County): 23.4 percent
San Diego (San Diego County): 18.4 percent
San Jose (Santa Clara County): 12.1 percent

C’mon people, we can’t be worse than Houston. You can explore every county in America, back to 1989, here.