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About 15 million or 21% of children in the United States live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level. Data shows that these children are more likely to drop out of school and not excel in their studies than those who come from families with higher incomes.

  • In Riverside, California, the percent of children aged 5 to 17 years old who live in families whose income is below the poverty level was 20.2% in 2017.
  • The average wage in Riverside is less than the living wage for families with one working parent.

Turning to Riverside and education more specifically, total school enrollment in Riverside is growing, as is the number of students who drop out.

  • Chronic absenteeism and truancy in Riverside schools also remain high. Riverside has the fourth highest chronic absenteeism rate in California. In addition to student suspension and expulsion as contributors to the absenteeism rate, the share of cases related to illicit drugs is growing.
  • Riverside also stands out because it is among the counties in California with the highest number of English learners, with the largest share of those students falling within the kindergarten and elementary school age groups. 

Riverside has a number of programs in place aimed at reducing the educational opportunity gap, however. For example, the number of participants of the state's transitional kindergarten program has risen significantly since 2014. The transitional kindergarten program is a public funding program in California that seeks to boost students' academic skills, confidence and maturity they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond

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