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Hispanic Children Vulnerable to Rural Challenges

Hispanic children who are born into rural families are more likely than their urban peers to grow up in poverty, lack access to health care, and lose out on participating in federal and state programs, according to a story by Stateline.

Nationwide, rural schools are becoming increasingly diverse and low-income, and as of the 2010-11 school year, minority students accounted for more than 90 percent of the new rural student population. Rural children are more likely than their urban peers to suffer from food insecurity and rely on federal food assistance and are also more likely to lack access to health care.

According to Stateline, 47 percent of Hispanic babies in rural areas are born into poverty, compared to 41 percent of urban Hispanic babies. If rural Hispanic children are born to parents who work in agriculture or other industrial jobs, they may be more likely to lack access to quality housing, child care, and health care. These problems are magnified if parents are undocumented and are too fearful to enroll in federal programs or seek out health care.

"This is a very hard-to-reach population," said Brenda Eskenazi, a professor of maternal and child health and epidemiology at the University of California at Berkeley to Stateline. "This is an underserved population whose needs aren't being documented."

The article highlights several potential solutions, including legislation in Utah that would provide Internet access and computers to low-income preschool families, with priority to children who are English-language learners, and wraparound services programs that connect rural families to health and education programs.

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