Johnston's population of children under the age of 18 dropped by roughly the same percentage as the state overall, the advocacy group RI Kids Count announced in its 2012 RI Kids Count Factbook, released this morning at an event in Warwick.
According to the statewide survey, Johnston's under-18 population fell from 5,906 in 2000 to 5,480 in 2010, a reduction of about 7.2 percent. The state's total childhood population fell by about 9 percent.
Only two other states had decreases of 10 percent or more in the population of children over that time, the group said in a press release.
Johnston's average cost of rent remained about the same, starting at $1,159 in 2010 and dropping slightly to match the state average of $1,150 in 2011.
Higher housing costs — which increased by 54%, from $748 to $1,150 statewide — were among the key factors that the groups said have "a negative impact" on childrens' potential to learn and succeed in the workplace.
The RI Kids Count survey reviewed 2010 census data for all 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island, and also found that about 66 percent of all children considered to be living in poverty — defined as annual household income of $18,123 for a family of three with two children — were located in four communities: Woonsocket, Central Falls, Pawtucket, and Providence.
“Children live in poverty in every Rhode Island community,” Kids Count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant said in a statement. “However, these communities warrant special attention since more children live in poverty in these four core cities, than in the rest of Rhode Island.”