UT Dallas Magazine

1 in 5 North Texas Children Lives in Poverty, Per Report

The Institute for Urban Policy Research and Children’s Health released the latest Beyond ABC: Assessing the Well-Being of Children in North Texas report examining the quality of life for children in six area counties.

The Institute compiled data for the 15th edition of the report that assesses pediatric health, economic security, safety and education in Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Fannin and Grayson counties.

This year’s findings include:

  • Rates of uninsured children in Dallas, Cooke, Fannin and Grayson counties are still twice the national average.
  • One in five children in North Texas lives in poverty.
  • Nearly 30,000 North Texas third graders – more than half – are reading below grade level, a powerful indicator of high school graduation.
  • Nearly 500,000 children in North Texas qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.
  • An estimated 122,009 children in the region live with an emotional disturbance or disorder, including anxiety, bipolar, conduct, obsessive-compulsive and eating disorders, while nearly 30,000 have a serious emotional disturbance.
  • Child Protective Services caseloads exceed the national best-practices threshold of 17 cases per worker. Fannin County’s average caseload in 2016 was triple the national recommendation, at 50.3.

–Kim Horner