BACK OF THE HILL—Gov. Deval Patrick visited Nurtury Learning Lab in Jamaica Plain’s Bromley-Heath housing development last week to present an annual report on the state of child welfare in the Commonwealth and how that compares to the rest of the country.
According to the KIDS COUNT ranking, issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Massachusetts has the best quality of life for children, largely because of investments in early education and healthcare.
However, it still has one of the greatest discrepancies between income levels in the nation.
“Even though the picture looks good overall, many communities of color are struggling,” Massachusetts Law Reform Institute Executive Director Georgia Katsoulomitis told the Gazette at the July 22 event.
According to Katsoulomitis, only 15 percent of Massachusetts’s children live below the poverty line. That figure is 46 percent in the Roxbury area near Bromley-Heath.
According to 2005-2009 census data available from the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), all the census tracts in the Bromley-Heath area make less than the City of Boston median household income of $52,433. Most make between $10,250 and $24,717.
According to that same data set, the great majority of Mission Hill households also below the City median income, with incomes between $52,433 and $24,717.01. A small sliver along Washington Street lives above the median, with incomes between $52,433.01 and $66,250.
In Mission Park and the Longwood Medical Area, most households live with incomes between $10,250 and $37,274.
According to federal guidelines, a family of four is considered to be living below the poverty line with an income of $23,850. A single person needs to make $11,670 to meet that guideline.
“This study just tells us what we already know,” state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez said at the meeting, adding that the state needs to invest in poorer neighborhoods.
State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz said that Massachusetts needs to “keep investing” in its children, so the 53 percent of fourth graders who don’t read at grade level can do better.