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poverty

Travis County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 5 Judge Nick Chu presides over court in 2018.
Gabriel C. Perez / KUT

Texas is chasing its tail when it comes to collecting court fees and fines, a new study says. And that inefficiency wastes courts' time and money – and keeps poor defendants in a cycle of poverty.

The analysis out today from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University suggests Texas, a state that leads the country in incarcerations for failure to pay court debt, faces systemic challenges on the road to reform.

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African Americans are twice as likely to suffer from sudden cardiac death compared to whites — that rate is triple for black women. A new study published in the Dallas-based American Heart Association’s journal 'Circulation' shows that risk might be tied to income and education disparities.

The gap between the richest and the poorest U.S. households is now the largest it's been in the past 50 years — despite the median U.S. income hitting a new record in 2018, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Associated Press

The gap between the haves and have-nots in the United States grew last year to its highest level in more than 50 years of tracking income inequality, according to Census Bureau figures.

Millions of families in the U.S. struggled to get enough food to eat last year, but conditions appear to be getting better as the economy improves.

In a new report released Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that about 11 percent of households — just over 14 million — had trouble putting enough food on the table last year and that in about 4 percent of households, someone went hungry because there was not enough money to buy food.

Pu Ying Huang

Many Texas educators and advocates are frustrated in the week after the state released letter grades rating their school districts and campuses, as they work to decipher the potential impacts for their schools.

Nearly 1 in 3 Dallas children grow up in poverty — and more than 100,000 kids in the city are living below the poverty line. A North Texas nonprofit has a plan for a collaborative response and an ambitious goal: to cut childhood poverty in half within 20 years. 

Associated Press

Child care costs in most states exceed federal subsidy payments provided to low-income parents, according to a newly released report from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, leaving working families with few affordable options.

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Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles and other big cities have struggled for decades to help solve the issues of urban violence and poverty.

On a recent episode of Think, Harvard Research fellow Thomas Abt talked with host Krys Boyd about why violence often furthers financial hardship.

Updated Aug. 27, 2019, 9:55 a.m. ET

The Trump administration is moving forward with a wave of new rules and regulations that would make it more difficult for low-income Americans — especially those in families that include non-citizens — to get government aid. NPR detailed many of the proposals in June, but there have been several developments since then.

The Trump administration is considering changing the way the government measures poverty, which has anti-poverty groups worried that many low-income individuals will be pushed off assistance programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and Head Start.

The possible change would involve adjusting the poverty line annually using a different inflation measure, one that would result in a slower increase over time.

The Driver Responsibility Program is widely unpopular, but legislative attempts to repeal it have largely failed because it pays for nearly half of the state's emergency trauma care system.
Rachel Zein for The Texas Tribune

The Texas House unanimously moved Thursday to repeal the tough-to-kill Driver Responsibility Program, which critics say traps low-income drivers in a cycle of debt.

During these troubled times in Venezuela, the mango has a new identity.

"We call them 'the noise takers' because they calm down the noise that our stomachs make when we are hungry," says Danilson Hernández, who manages a modest business that upholsters vehicles in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

And there are a lot of hungry people in crisis-ridden Venezuela. Nearly 90 percent of families don't earn enough money to buy the food they need, according to the latest Life Conditions National Survey, run annually by college professors.

From Texas Standard:

With Tax Day just five days away, on April 15, some may be scrambling to make a payment, or just trying to get all the right forms filled out. While tax season can be stressful for many, it doesn’t affect most people's health. But it can, for families living in poverty.

A national nonprofit says Texas’ system for putting holds on driver licenses is unconstitutional and is threatening to take the state to court as lawmakers decide the program's future this legislative session.

School districts ranking high in feeding low-income students supplement the traditional cafeteria line with breakfast in the classroom using a grab-and-go model.
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Irving, Dallas, Garland, Crowley and Arlington all rank highly among Texas school districts when it comes to feeding students in need.

stack of diapers
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Diapers Etc. hands out around 10,000 to 12,000 diapers per month to families in need, for free. For those families on the financial edge, the necessary baby-care staple would be a crippling cost otherwise.

Seven out of 10 driver's license suspensions in Texas are due to drivers' inability to pay fees and surcharges from courts and the Texas Department of Public Safety, according to a new study from nonprofits Texas Appleseed and Texas Fair Defense Project.

From Texas Standard:

In the United States, over 10 million children live below the federal poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It's the lowest child poverty rate in decades, but researchers and public policy experts are determined to bring down that number even further.

In a recently published report called "A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty" from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, its co-authors suggest policy changes that they claim could cut child poverty in half in just 10 years.

Cynthia Osborne contributed to the report. She's associate dean and director of the Center for Health and Social Policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Osborne says the irony of child poverty is that it's expensive.

From Texas Standard:

Representatives from Texas food banks will gather at the Capitol on Tuesday to talk with legislators about food insecurity and lobby for ways the state can help. Food insecurity is a bigger problem than some may think. The term doesn't just describe people who are going hungry; it also describes people who don’t have the household resources to consistently buy healthy food.

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A new statewide study shows 42 percent of Texas households struggle to make ends meet — households where at least one adult is working. In Dallas County, it's 43 percent. 

As the longest government shutdown in U.S. history stretches into a fifth week, millions of poor Americans who depend on food and rental assistance, like Doris Cochran, are becoming increasingly worried about the future.
Associated Press

Doris Cochran, a disabled mother of two young boys, is stockpiling canned foods these days, filling her shelves with noodle soup, green beans, peaches and pears — anything that can last for months or even years. Her pantry looks as though she's preparing for a winter storm. But she's just trying to make sure her family won't go hungry if her food stamps run out.

Kristie Tingle is the Center For Public Policy Priorities research analyst. She presented her latest findings to government officials and leaders of non-profits on the effects to children of poverty.
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

More than one in five Dallas children lives in poverty, while one in four Dallas families have a parent who was born in another country, a new study details. That's just two of the statistics detailed in the new "State of Texas Children" report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

Verónica G. Cárdenas for The Texas Tribune

Despite the grim, long-standing realities of income inequality in the state, 2017 proved to be a year of solid economic improvement for Texas with ongoing gains that are reflective of the state’s post-recession bounce. 

Photo/Allison V. Smith

The Dallas City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the city's first comprehensive housing policy. It's designed to address the shortage of affordable housing and break up concentrations of poverty in the city.

Allison V. Smith for KERA News

A new study by the Communities Foundation of Texas and the left-leaning Center For Public Policy Priorities evaluated education, employment, debt, housing and healthcare across Dallas County. 

The data show experiences vary greatly from zip code to zip code.

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Each day, social workers must decide whether or not the children they visit should be removed from their parents’ homes. It’s a decision that changes the courses of those kids’ lives.

During a recent episode of  KERA's "Think," Naomi Schaefer Riley, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, talked about how we can better harness statistical information to help make these decisions.

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The left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities, based in Austin, works on everything from health care to hunger.

Executive Director Ann Beeson lays out the most pressing issues she thinks Texans, especially low-to-moderate income Texans, are up against in 2018.

"The federal government must take bold action to address inequitable funding in our nation's public schools."

So begins a list of recommendations released Thursday by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent, bipartisan agency created by Congress in 1957 to investigate civil rights complaints. Thursday's report comes after a lengthy investigation into how America's schools are funded and why so many that serve poor and minority students aren't getting the resources they say they need.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

One in five North Texas children lives in poverty, and more than a quarter million are hungry as their parents struggle to feed them.

Those are just a few statistics from a recent 97-page report issued by Children’s Health, the Dallas-based children’s hospital network. The study offers possible solutions, too.

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