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Minority Children Face Disparity In Opporunity Throughout Oregon

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Minority children in Oregon have fewer opportunities to emerge from poverty than their white peers. That's according to a report released earlier this week from the advocacy group, Children First for Oregon.

The annual Data Book is a compilation of critical indicators by county. It shows 60% of the states minority children live in low-income families, compared to 38% of whites. As those children become young adults, only 26% under 29 have an Associate's degree or higher. TJ Sheehy is the Director of Research for Children First. He says there are lower levels of opportunities across the nation, but in Oregon the structural problems are more pronounced.

Sheehy: "So for example, that hallowing out in the middle, where middle income jobs are harder to come by is more pronounced in Oregon. We also see that we have the least affordable child care in the country, and we have one of the worst high school graduation rates. So we have structural problems now that are only going to get worse if we don't step up and do something."

Sheehy says minority children are an increasing proportion of the State's population. The study combines several measures of opportunity, including access to early childhood education, proficiency in 4th grade reading, and living in a home headed by a high school degree holder.