ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Nearly half of all children in Rochester live in poverty according to the U.S Census Bureau. That ranks second highest in the nation of areas with a population of 100,000 or more.

Only Syracuse has a higher childhood poverty rate than Rochester among mid-to-large-size cities.

Local non-profits are disappointed, but explain this is nothing new after decades of economic and political systems working against average families.  

Those with the Children’s Agenda in Rochester, like Pete Nabozni, found poverty worsened for families after the housing market crashed in 2008, adding that it’s been difficult to recover with housing still unaffordable to many while crime plagues families.  

“It’s been a persistent problem in this community that really limits a lot of positive outcomes for young people,” Nabozni said. “Because childhood poverty is associated with all sorts of lifelong problems. Whether it’s worse health outcomes, worse educational outcomes, or involvement in the criminal justice system.”  

A popular idea to give families in need more support is starting up the federal child tax credit, but recently non-profits are also partnering with the City of Rochester and Rochester City School District to guide children to better opportunities through jobs and internships.  

“That’s a great way for particularly teenagers to get their feet wet in the job market,” Nabozni said. “And see what they enjoy doing. Earn some money and hopefully start building a lifetime with some good earnings.”  

“We need to change the environment for their parents,” said Jerome Underwood, President of Action for a Better Community. “And make things equitably accessible for everyone.”  

The U.S Census Bureau calculates 48.2% of all children in Rochester live in poverty, Underwood argues political and economic systems need to change for parents to get that rate down. 

“Just about every economic category you look at has the same disparities in terms of the levels of employment for people of color,” Underwood said. “They also need to change their practices to make sure employment is fair and equitable.”  

Within that 48.2% of all children in Rochester living in poverty, the majority come from Black and Latino families, according to the Children’s Agenda, highlighting racial disparities during economic hardships.  

The U.S Census Bureau defines those in poverty living in Rochester as a family of four making less than $27,750 a year. Since 2015 when this data was last collected on a widespread scale the childhood poverty rate in Rochester overall did drop by a little more than 3%.