The future growth of our economy depends on large numbers of our children growing up to become productive and contributing members of the workforce and tax base. Research has now shown that issues faced by children living in or near poverty create significant barriers to their ability become a successful part of the workforce.
Inadequate access to nutrition and health care results in a lack of healthy child development. Living in unstable home situations, sometimes with mental health issues in the household, prevents typical social development and skill building. These children will have a difficult time learning what they will need for the jobs of the future.
In the meantime, our workforce will need more and more skilled people to replace the large generations of workers retiring over the coming decades. A hugely disproportionate percentage of our children are living in poverty -- 62% more than adults -- and they will be challenged to learn the skills needed to be successful. The math is simply against us if things remain in the status quo -- we will never be able to replace the workers who are retiring. If we change our course, however, larger proportions of our children would become successful and could serve as a vast resource available to drive economic growth for decades.
Unless we do something now to give a larger proportion of our children the opportunity to get the necessary capabilities to thrive in the workforce of the future, our economic growth will stagnate.
Transforming the we we approach this problem will not just be good for those living in poverty; it will be critical for everyone's success.
Even if we set aside the shocking moral issue of 1 in 6 of our children living in poverty, we have a real economic crisis brewing -- an inadequate future workforce to sustain the growth of the economy. We must invest in reducing child poverty for everyone's benefit.