Arkansas has made important advancements in improving the lives of children statewide. However, deep racial and ethnic disparities persist in children’s achievement levels, and laws at the local, state and federal levels continue to perpetuate long-standing inequity. In addition to the disparities we see for children of color, children in immigrant families in Arkansas are more likely to live in or near poverty than their peers in other states.
More than 80,000 children in Arkansas have parents who were born abroad or are immigrants themselves. More than two-thirds of those children — 69 percent — are growing up in low-income families, or those whose incomes are not higher than $41,560 for a family of three. In comparison, 52 percent of Arkansas children whose parents were both born in the United States live in low-income families.
These gaps in economic security are made worse by policies that keep young people and their parents from participating fully in our economy, driving down wages for families in all ethnic and racial groups. We need all children in Arkansas to reach their full potential if we are to reach ours as a state.