A shocking new study shows that despite the state's strong economic growth, one in five children in Bexar County today are living in homes where the total earnings are below the federal poverty line, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"It is a lot of children in poverty, and that is about par for the state," said Kristie Tingle of the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities. "We seen one in five children in poverty across the state as well."
The report was released in San Antonio as the 2019 prepares to meet and to discuss several issues that could help alleviate the problem.
Tingle says one of those would be to raise the state's minimum wage, and to decline to reject measures like the one approved in San Antonio last year which would guarantee sick pay for all full time workers.
"If we can raise that minimum wage, if we can make it easier for working families to earn the money they need to stay out of poverty, we are going to see those numbers improve."
State Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio) has introduced a bill which already has numerous co-sponsors, which would raise the state's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from the current $7.25.
The group is also called for improved school funding to guarantee an adequate financial base for school districts in property poor areas, and measures to expand access to affordable health insurance.
While the state's unemployment rate is at historic lows, analysts say many families remain in poverty due to low wages, and even some people who are considered to be homeless are actually holding down full time jobs.
The poverty rate is significantly higher for African American and Hispanic children in Texas and for children who live with single mothers.
"Our dynamic, growing, vivacious state can often be a terrific place for kids," said CPPP CEO Ann Beeson. "But short-sighted public policies and inadequate investment have created potholes and detours that are keeping far too many Texas children from reaching their full potential. With the upcoming Texas legislative session, our state leaders have an important opportunity to let all children's well-being drive their policy choices and make Texas the best state for kids."