If living in poverty stunts a child's prospects in adulthood, our region could be in serious trouble.
The number of families living in poverty in some parts of the metro-east has increased dramatically, according to U.S. Census statistics, and not just in the places you would expect.
For instance, the High Mount School District in Swansea had 40.3 percent of families living in poverty in 2011 compared with 15.5 percent in 2006. Central School District 90 in O'Fallon had a 24.4 percent rate in 2011 compared with 16.8 percent in 2006.
Income isn't the only indicator of future success, of course. There are many inspiring stories of low-income children who grow up to be tops in their field. But as a group, students from low-income households don't do as well in school and on standardized tests. It is an uphill battle to even get to even, let alone flourish.
The quickest way to extinguish a person's ambition is to make sure he has little or no hope of having a good job and money for his monthly bills, emergencies and retirement. Poverty increases the concerns.
Most parents hope that their children will be more successful than they were, and that's generally what has happened in the past. But will that be likely in the future?
Our fear is that the children of today are in danger of being a lost generation, and none of our political leaders seems to know how to change the trajectory.