A new study from Children's Medical Center Dallas casts a dark shadow on Big D. According to the findings, almost 30 percent of Dallas County children live in poverty, equating to 196,252 children living on $64 a day or less. The national average poverty rate is 22 percent.
Children's Medical president and CEO Christopher Durovich said Dallas' poverty rate has remained virtually unchanged for three years, even as the economy and housing market has recovered.
"Poverty is the common factor in substandard academic achievement, exposure to crime, domestic abuse and illness," said Children's Medical Center CEO Chris Durovich.
"Many families are not sharing in that prosperity, and children are suffering the consequences," Durovich said in a statement. "Poverty is the common factor in substandard academic achievement, exposure to crime, domestic abuse and illness, and poor health resulting from lack of access to preventive healthcare."
The study also found that 172,610 children live in "food-insecure households" and 90,000 children are without health insurance. The national average rate of uninsured children is 7.2 percent, but in Dallas that number is 13.4 percent.
"We cannot allow the cascading effect of poverty to compromise the health and well-being of such large numbers of children. If we shortchange these children now, the community will pay the price for it later," Durovich said.
President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act has received a frosty reception in Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry refused to expand Medicaid or set up a state insurance exchange. Instead, the federal government will step in and run Texas' exchange. It is expected to provide insurance for 3 million residents.
Obama visited Dallas in early November to promote the Affordable Care Act, which has been rife with technical glitches since its October 1 launch. Perry took the opportunity to skewer the president, calling the Affordable Care Act ill-conceived, unpopular and headed for "a Titanic fate."
"Medicaid already consumes a quarter of the state budget, we simply need the flexibility to implement fundamental, state-specific reforms to our Medicaid program, instead of a one-size-fits-all Washington mandate," Perry said in a statement.