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New report reveals persistent barriers for children of color and children living in immigrant families

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon’s future depends on the success of all of Oregon’s children. However, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s new report, 2017 Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children, shows that children of color and kids living in immigrant families in Oregon face significant obstacles on the pathway to opportunity. 

With Oregon’s history of racial exclusion and mistreatment of people of color magnified by the recent uptick in racially-motivated hate crimes, the Race for Results report sheds light on how the state’s inequitable past affects child well-being. From Oregon’s founding as a white-only state to federal legislation in the past that limited access of communities of color to banking services, transportation and jobs, racially-biased decisions have limited the opportunities available to Oregon’s children today. Children of color and children living in immigrant families struggle to find the stability, economic resources, and opportunities they need to thrive.

“Oregon’s future success depends on how our children are supported today,” said Children First for Oregon Executive Director Tonia Hunt. “But Oregon is falling short when it comes to ensuring all children grow up healthy, safe, educated and economically secure. We have a shared responsibility in ensuring that all children, regardless of color or immigration status, receive the support they need to build a bright future for themselves and our state.”

According to the report, children of color and children living in immigrant families are more likely to live in low-income households than their white counterparts living in U.S.-born families. Nearly three out of five (57%) children in immigrant families in Oregon live on less than $49,000 per year for a family of four, compared to two out of five (40%) children in U.S.-born families. While more than one out of three (36%) White children in Oregon lives in a low-income household, nearly two in three African-American (63%) and American Indian (64%) do, and more than two in three Latino (67%) children live in low-income households.

“A legacy of racial exclusion and disinvestment has created significant barriers for many of today’s children. Policymakers can’t wait any longer to remedy the past and find solutions to put all Oregon kids on the path to success,” said Linda Roman of Oregon Latino Health Coalition.

In addition, disparities exist in education outcomes. Only 55 percent of American Indian children graduate high school on time in Oregon, compared to 72 percent of that demographic group nationally. Latino children struggle to reach developmental milestones — 18 percent of Oregon’s Latino fourth graders scored at or above proficient in reading and 16 percent of Latino eighth graders scored at or above proficient in math. Only 66 percent of Oregon children in immigrant families live in a household with someone with at least a high school degree, compared to 93 percent of children in U.S.-born families.

This is the second Race for Results report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation; the first was released in 2014. The report measures children’s progress on the national and state levels on key education, health, and economic milestones by racial and ethnic groups. The report’s index uses a composite score of these milestones on a scale of one (lowest) to 1,000 (highest) to make comparisons. In Oregon, Latino and American Indian children fared the worst with index scores of 397 and 452 respectively. African American children received an index score just slightly higher at 473. White and Asian and Pacific Islander children scored the highest at 654 and 702 respectively.

“Many children in Oregon and throughout the state are growing up in a world that was intentionally and systematically built to deny them opportunities. But we can change that together. Policies like Ethnic Studies and culturally specific early education can change educational opportunities and outcomes for Oregon’s future generations,” said Joseph Santos-Lyons, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon.

Release Information

The 2017 Race for Results report will be available October 24 at 12:01 a.m. EDT at www.aecf.org/raceforresults/. Additional information is available at www.aecf.org/. The website also contains the most recent national, state and local data on numerous indicators of child well-being. Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs and rankings in stories about Race for Results can use the Data Center at datacenter.kidscount.org.