A new study has discovered that 48 percent of the nation’s 50 million public school students are living in low-income households, as measured by whether they qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches. In 17 states, the majority of schoolchildren are poor. Poverty rates are led by Mississippi, where 71 percent of children are in poverty.
These data represent a startling rise since 2000:
While the statistics are the worst for states in the South and the West, the percent increase in poor children was the highest in the Midwest (up 40 percent since 2001, compared to 33 percent in the South, 31 percent in the West, and 21 percent in the Northeast). All, of course, extraordinary increases.