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Impact of Policy on Children
May 18, 2020

Racial/Ethnic Bias in Pediatric Care and the Criminalization of Poverty and Race/Ethnicity—Seek and Ye Shall Find

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, New York
JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(8):751-752. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.1033

The criminalization of poverty and race/ethnicity is ubiquitous and multifaceted in US society.1 More than 16% of children were living below the federal poverty level in 2018 according to the latest government statistics; they are the poorest age group in our country.2 In contrast, the poverty rate for older adults is less than 10%. The intersectionality of poverty and race/ethnicity is a fact of life, with 32% of black children (and 31% of Native American children and 26% of Latinx children) living in poverty vs 11% of white children.3 Therefore, criminalizing poverty places a much greater burden of harm on children of color.

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