Child poverty rate declines, but high-school dropouts and single-parent families on the ride - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Child poverty rate declines, but high-school dropouts and single-parent families on the ride

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ The number of children living in poverty in Oklahoma dropped 14 percent in the past decade, but the rate of high school dropouts and single-parent families increased, the report shows.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Population Reference Bureau examined 10 indicators of children's well-being and an index of family risk in releasing a report Thursday.

The study will allow lawmakers to make decision on the basis of facts, not anecdotes, said Bill O'Hare of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

``The goal is to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children in America,'' O'Hare said.

The state had a 36 percent increase in the rate of children living in single-parent families and an 18 percent increase in high school dropouts.

``For me, the data clearly shows improvements made in the 1990s, but those improvements are generally shallow, and the gains made in the 1990s are vulnerable,'' O'Hare said. ``Even though the child poverty rate is down, we still ended the decade with 12 million kids in poverty. It gives me pause on how vulnerable the gains may be.''

Oklahoma had a 5 percent increase in the percentage of children living with a high school dropout as a head of household.

No change was experienced in the rate of children living in low-income working families and children living in households without a vehicle.

The rate of children who have difficulty speaking English increased a 200 percent, the report showed. O'Hare said the category may be skewed because of a small sample or small base percentages.

He said the number of children increased by about 8 million in the past decade, the biggest increase since the 1950s baby boom.
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