According to a recent analysis based on 2013 federal data, low-income students in America’s public school system now make up the majority of the population at 51 percent.
In 40 of the 50 states, low-income students made up no less than 40 percent of all public school children, and in 21 states students eligible for free or reduced lunch made up the majority, reports the Southern Education Foundation.
The majority of the states with a high number of low-income students are found in the South and the West, with Mississippi leading the nation with the highest rate of 71 percent. The second highest state was New Mexico, where 69 percent of its students come from low-income families.
The rise in the number of poor children in the public school system raises many questions in regards to whether educators and government officials are providing an effective amount of resources to ensure that the needs of these students are met.
So far, the Obama administration has laid out a few educational initiatives devoted to making sure that low-income students do no fall behind academically. Some of these initiatives include a proposed plan for Congress to add $1 billion annually in federal aid to states with the poorest students, and a plan to offer pre-school funding for children who come from low-income families.
Check out the map below to see the percentage of low-income students that comprise each state’s public school population.