Opportunity gap affects Southern Oregon children

Your economic status growing up has a huge influence on how successful you will be as an adult, that’s according to a new state-wide study.

The study by ‘Children First for Oregon’ found that kids in rural Southern Oregon are at a major disadvantage when compared to their Portland based peers.

The numbers show there’s a lot of roadblocks on the road to success but there are options for those looking to pursue their dreams.

“Opportunity is limited in some ways, but possibility is not,” said Dee Anne Everson with The United Way.

How you grow up has a big impact on if you’ll succeed, that’s according to a new study by Children First for Oregon.

Check out the study here – 2015 County Data

“We’re not up to par, you can look at the average scores that came out and our community isn’t scoring as well as it should be and it’s all of our responsibilities to educate as well as we should be,” said Everson.
The study found children of high income, highly educated parents, a large majority of which live in the Portland metro area, are more likely to be high income and highly educated themselves.

“What we found is about half of a child’s future earnings are predicted by the family they came from and their parent’s earnings,” said Tonia Hunt with Children First for Oregon.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, children of low income families whose parents have little or no secondary education face major obstacles on their way to bridging the gap, mostly noticeably among minorities.

“It’s real, for minority families, people of color, the disparity is there but for employers it’s really advantageous to hire bilingual, bicultural families to reach out to this community,” said Everson.

That disparity doesn’t mean resources aren’t available to help Southern Oregon children and their families.

“What we have to do is show our families, especially those that have low income or are living in poverty that possibility exists,” said Everson.

Another shocking statistic, statewide, ‘Children First’ found one in five Oregon children lives in poverty, that number is even higher in Southern Oregon.

For resources in our area dedicated to helping Oregon families visit – United Way of Jackson County

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Matt Jordan is the Chief Meteorologist for KOBI-TV NBC5. Matt joined the NBC5 weather team in 2014 after a year as a reporter and anchor in Alexandria, Louisiana. His experience with the severe weather of the Deep South and a love of the Pacific Northwest led him to pursue a certification with Mississippi State University as a Broadcast Meteorologist. You can find Matt working in the evenings of NBC5 News at 5, 6 and 11 as well as online. Matt also has a degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. In addition to being passionate about news and weather, Matt is a BIG Oregon Ducks fan. When not rooting for the Ducks or tracking down the next storm over the Pacific, Matt can be found outdoors in the Oregon wilderness with his wife, his daughter and their dogs Stanley and Gordi.
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