A National Council of La Raza (NCLR) reported released on Tuesday reveals that a shocking 56 percent of Puerto Rico’s children live below the poverty line. According to a study titled 2010 KIDS COUNT - Puerto Rico Data Book, the poverty rate among Puerto Rico’s under-18 demographic, representing a quarter of the island’s population, is three times that of children in the rest of the United States (18 percent). According to the U.S. government, a family with two adults and two children making less than $21,834 a year is considered poor.
NCLR, the U.S.’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, said a leading cause of child poverty is the prevalence of single family households. In total, 49 percent of children in Puerto Rico live in single parent households, compared to 32 of children elsewhere in America. The teen birthrate is among the highest in the United States and the island leads the country in the proportion of teenagers who neither attend school nor work (14.6 percent).
The author of the report, Nayde Rivera-Hernández, said the information is meant to inform government officials, nonprofits, community groups, and the private sector of the harsh realities facing children, and promote policies that effectively support young people. NCLR’s KIDS COUNT program was founded in 2002 as an advocacy tool for the socioeconomic well-being of Hispanic children in the United States.