Every year statistics on the living conditions of children in the USA are calculated. The system is called ‘Kids Count’ and it is the most up to date source that assesses the conditions in each state or territory. The figures show that conditions on the US Virgin Islands significantly deteriorated from 2006 to 2007. No new figures are available.
The USA has an official poverty line. In 2007 the threshold for a family of four was set at an annual income of $ 21,027. This puts 29% of island families with children below the line. The percentage is increasing. Children living in poverty make up 34%, which is twice the norm in the USA.
The percentage of single parents is 46%, compared with the US average of 19%. A particularly large number of children live with a single mother – 42%. Overall, single mothers have responsibility for 43.6% of all families, and 70% of all poor children live with a single mother.
There is a marked difference in the living conditions of blacks and whites, but living conditions are not specified in these categories. Poverty results in problems for children; more children are born with a low birth weight, and more children suffer neglect and abuse.
Poverty also means that a larger proportion of young people do not complete basic schooling, that youth unemployment rises and creates a growing group of criminal children and adolescents. Poverty also underlies the growing number of young mothers between 15 and 18 years of age.
According to all these parameters, the population of the US Virgin Islands is disadvantaged compared with the rest of the United States.