First Look at the Census Bureau’s 2014 Income, Poverty, and Health Coverage Reports: Health Insurance Soars, But America’s Next Generation Still Live in Families Struggling to Make Ends Meet


According to the Census Bureau’s new poverty and income data, 14.8 percent of Americans were poor in 2014, statistically unchanged from 2013. No one should be complacent about these figures, particularly as America’s next generation of workers and citizens, including children (under 18) and young adults (ages 18 to 24), has the highest poverty rates—sharply exceeding the national average.

More than one in five (21.1 percent) children and almost one in five (19.8 percent) young adults live in households with incomes below the federal poverty line ($19,073 for a family with a single parent and two children).  The youngest children (under age 5), who are most vulnerable to the effects of poverty, experience an even higher rate (23.8 percent), as do Black children and young adults (37.1 percent and 29 percent respectively), Hispanic children and young adults (31.9 percent and 22.4 percent respectively), and young adults of any race or ethnicity who are also parents (43 percent). Children of color’s circumstances are particularly important; by 2020, they are expected to make up over 50 percent of the nation’s population of children, with children under age 5 having already reached this milestone.

The data also offer a snapshot of the crucial role that strong public policy can play. For example, 2014 was the first year in which the Affordable Care Act was fully implemented, and the share of Americans lacking health insurance coverage fell dramatically from 13.3 percent in 2013 to 10.4 percent in 2014. Young adults and low-income workers particularly benefitted, with adults ages 18 to 34 comprising over 40 percent of newly insured Americans. The Census also released an alternative measure, the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which shows the effect of non-cash transfers and taxes as well as work expenses and out-of-pocket medical costs. This analysis shows that refundable credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, reduced child poverty (as measured by the SPM) by 7.1 percentage points in 2014, while the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reduced child poverty by 2.8 percentage points.

Yet the 2014 data show that economic struggles are pervasive for this generation of children and young adults. Almost half (more than four in ten) of all children and young adults live in low-income households that are below 200 percent of the poverty line. These families too often struggle to put food on the table and pay for basics like rent, mortgage, and utilities. America has a great deal at stake in a strong policy response to help these families succeed, given the research evidence that growing up with inadequate income and  opportunity can stunt children’s and young adults’ education and careers—and  the future importance of these young people as today’s older Baby Boomers retire.

Most of these struggling families are working yet still can’t make ends meet.  Nearly 70 percent of poor children and over 80 percent of the larger group of low-income children live in families with at least one worker. More than half of low-income families with children have a full-time, full-year worker. Without strong policy guarantees including a higher minimum wage,  family and medical leave, paid sick days, along with scheduling policies that give workers some measure of predictability, too many families work long hours yet still can’t create stability for their children—like one of the homeless mothers Pope Francis will meet in Washington, D.C. next week who is working one part-time job  and has just added a second to try to support herself and her two-year-old daughter.

The Census data also shine a light on the stark disparities in poverty and income by race and region of the country.  While overall poverty (for all ages) is highest in the South (16.5 percent), lower in the Midwest (13 percent), and lowest in the Northeast (12.6 percent), this pattern varies greatly across racial and ethnic groups. The poverty rate for African-Americans peaks at 30.9 percent in the Midwest compared to 21.5 percent in the Northeast, while Americans of Hispanic origins fare similarly across all regions—22.8 percent are poor in the West, 23.7 percent in the South and 25.3 percent in Northeast. Unfortunately, areas with high concentrations of poverty make it far harder for both children and adults to move ahead—for example, because high-poverty schools are far less likely than other schools to provide the basic college preparatory courses.

These data show an urgent need to address poverty and near-poverty among the next generation of Americans—but also demonstrate, through the striking health insurance results, that the United States remains able to meet large policy challenges when we face them head-on. When Pope Francis arrives next week, he is widely expected to repeat his call to carry “the burdens of the weakest and poorest among us.” The new poverty data suggest both that he is right to advocate strongly for a policy res

Source: CLASP: Policy Solutions That Work for Low-Income People

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Reducing Health Insurance Inequities among Latino Families Raising Children with Special Health Care Needs


The Catalyst Center is committed to identifying and supporting policy and program initiatives that work to reduce inequities in health insurance coverage and financing among underserved children with special health care needs (CSHCN).

Children are more likely to have health insurance when their parents are also insured. This fact sheet explores:

  • The Medicaid expansion provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA);
  • A state option to provide 12-month continuous eligibility to parents and other adults;
  • How these policy initiatives have the potential to impact the insurance status of Latino CSHCN

Source: Catalyst Center

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10 Ways Your Head Start Program Can Promote New Health Insurance Opportunities – Head Start

Millions of Americans will become eligible for health insurance in 2014. Head Start programs play a vital role in making sure people learn how to get coverage and help applying through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Program directors, State Collaboration Offices, and partners may use the strategies in this tip sheet when planning outreach efforts in their communities.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

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Ten Ways Your Head Start Program Can Promote New Health Insurance Opportunities


Head Start programs play an important role in making sure families learn how to find and apply for affordable health insurance. Access to affordable health insurance is vital to ensuring that children are healthy and ready to learn. Likewise, healthy parents and families are better able to support their children’s school readiness and meet their own goals. Ten Ways Your Head Start Program Can Promote New Health Insurance Opportunities offer strategies Head Start leaders and partners can use when planning outreach efforts.

Source: Office of Head Start


HHS awards $32 million in grants to sign up children for health coverage


Today, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced nearly $32 million in grants for efforts to identify and enroll children eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment Grants were awarded to 41 state agencies, community health centers, school-based organizations and non-profit groups in 22 states; two grantees are multistate organizations.

“Today’s grants will ensure that more children across the nation have access to the quality health care they need,” said Secretary Sebelius. “We are drawing from successful children’s health coverage outreach and enrollment efforts to help promote enrollment this fall in Medicaid and the new Health Insurance Marketplace.”

Efforts to streamline Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal practices, combined with robust outreach activities, have helped reduce the number of uninsured children.  Since 2008, 1.7 million children have gained coverage and the rate of uninsured children has dropped to 6.6 percent in 2012.

Grants were made in five focus areas:

  • Engaging schools in outreach, enrollment and retention activities (9 awards);
  • Reducing health coverage disparities by reaching out to subgroups of children that are less likely to have health coverage (8 awards);
  • Streamlining enrollment for individuals participating in other public benefit programs such as nutritional or other assistance programs (3 awards);
  • Improving application assistance resources to provide high quality, reliable Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal services in local communities (13 awards); and
  • Training communities to help families understand the new application and enrollment system and to deliver effective assistance to families with children eligible for Medicaid or CHIP (8 awards).

These awards are part of the $140 million included in the Affordable Care Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009 for enrollment and renewal outreach.

The grants will build on the Secretary’s Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge to find and enroll all eligible children and support outreach strategies that have been shown to be successful.

Grant amounts range from $190,000 to $1 million. For a list of grantees, please visit:

Learn more at

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services

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1.2 million Texas children still without insurance


More than 1 million Texas children remain without health insurance, and those kids are not getting the care they need.

The startling condition of the state’s children came into vivid focus last week with the release of the annual Kids Count survey. The analysis of official state and federal data by the non-partisan Center for Public Policy Priorities found that 1.2 million Texas children have neither private nor public health insurance.

Source: The Houston Chronicle

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