DataBank Indicator

Children in Poverty

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In 2010, more than one in five children (22 percent) lived in families with incomes below the poverty line, the highest level since 1993; by 2014, this had fallen to 21 percent. Black and Hispanic children, children living in single-mother families, and children under five are even more likely to be poor.

Importance

Since the mid-1970s, children under 18 have been much more likely than adults to be poor.[1] Being raised in poverty (defined as income of $24,008 or less in 2014, for a family of four with two children) [2] places children at higher risk for a wide range of problems. Research indicates that poor children are disproportionately exposed to factors that may impair brain development [3] and affect cognitive, social, and emotional functioning. These risks include environmental toxins, inadequate nutrition, maternal depression, parental substance abuse, trauma and abuse, violent crime, divorce, low-quality child care, and decreased cognitive stimulation (stemming in part from exposure, in infancy, to a more restricted vocabulary[4],[5],[6]

While determining causality is complex in this context, experiencing poverty is also related to increased risks of negative health outcomes for young children and adolescents. When compared with all children, poor children are more likely to have poor health and chronic health conditions.[7] Children in poor families are more likely to be born premature and at a low birth weight, and to develop later illnesses, such as respiratory diseases. As adolescents, poor youth are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, such as personality disorders and depression. Moreover, in comparison to all adolescents, those raised in poverty engage in higher rates of risky health-related behaviors, including smoking and early initiation of sexual activity.[8],[9],[10]

Aside from physical and mental health, poverty in childhood and adolescence is associated with a higher risk for poorer cognitive and academic outcomes, lower school attendance, lower reading and math test scores, increased distractibility, and higher rates of grade failure and early high school dropout.[11],[12] Poor children are also more likely than other children to have externalizing and other behavior problems, or emotional problems,[13],[14] and are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviors during adolescence.[15] Finally, growing up in poverty is associated with lower occupational status and lower wages,[16],[17] poorer health,[18] and deficits in working memory[19] in adulthood.

Reporting on child poverty rates at a single point in time gives an under-estimate of its deleterious effects, since research shows that persistent poverty, as well as poverty experienced in the childhood’s early years, is most detrimental to development.[20] Nearly four in ten children are poor for one or more years before they reach age 18—nearly double the point-in-time estimate. More than one in ten are poor for half or more of their childhood years.[21]

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Trends

04_fig1After reaching 23 percent in 1993—the highest rate since 1964—child poverty fell to 16 percent in 1999, then rose slowly through 2004, to 18 percent. Beginning in 2007, the data began to reflect the most recent economic downturn. Between 2006 and 2010, child poverty increased by more than one-fourth, to 22 percent of all children under 18, then declined between 2010 and 2013, to 20 percent. A small uptick in 2014 to 21 percent may be attributed to a change in income reporting: comparable numbers from 2013 show a rate of 22 percent.[22] (Figure 1)

Many researchers and advocates use 200 percent or less of the poverty threshold to identify families with “low-income”.[23] In 2014, more than four in ten children (43 percent) lived in low-income families. Nine percent of children under age 18 lived in families in deep poverty (below 50 percent of the poverty threshold). All these measures of poverty have followed similar patterns over time. (Figure 1)

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) is an alternative measure that takes into account the effects of taxes and in-kind transfers (such as SNAP benefits), regional differences in cost of living, complex family structures, and costs associated with work. Between 2009 and 2014, the SPM yielded a child poverty rate between 16 and 17 percent.[24]

Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin[25]

04_fig2Hispanic and black children are much more likely to live in poor families than are white and Asian children. In 2014, 12 percent of white children and 14 percent of Asian children were poor, compared with 32 percent of Hispanic children and 37 percent of black children. In the same year, Hispanics and blacks were also more likely than whites and Asians to live in low-income families (62 and 63 percent, versus 29 and 32 percent, respectively). Black children were more likely than Hispanic children to be in deep poverty (18 and 13 percent, respectively), and both were more likely to be in deep poverty than white or Asian children (five percent, each). (Figure 2)

Differences by Age

Children under five are more likely than children five to 17 to live below the poverty line (23 and 20 percent, respectively in 2014). (Appendix 2)

Differences by Family Structure

04_fig3Children are much more likely to be poor if they live in single-mother families than if they live in married-couple families. In 2014, 46 percent of children living in single-mother families were poor, compared with 11 percent of children living in married-couple families. The same pattern holds for white, black, Hispanic, and Asian children. For example, more than half of black and Hispanic children in single-mother families were poor in 2014. In contrast, 17 percent of black children, and 20 percent of Hispanic children, in married-couple families were poor during the same year. (Figure 3)

After narrowing in the 1990s, the gap between poverty rates for children in married-couple and those in single-mother families grew between 2000 and 2005, then was stable until 2008. The difference grew between 2008 and 2011, but has since leveled off. (Appendix 2)

State and Local Estimates

State-level child poverty estimates are available from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS has yearly estimates of children living at multiple ratios of the poverty levels, from 2005 onward, for areas with populations of 65,000 or more, and 3-year-average estimates for areas with 20,000 or more.

Additionally, 2000-2014 state estimates for children in poverty (100 percent), children in extreme poverty (50 percent), children below 150 percent poverty, children below 200 percent poverty, children below 250 percent poverty, and children in poverty by age group are available from the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

International Estimates

Child poverty estimates (defined as the percent of children living on less than 50 percent of median disposable income, adjusted for family size and composition) for 36 economically advanced countries are available from UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Center. (see Figure 1b.)

National Goals

None.

What Works to Make Progress on This Indicator

The Following briefs review ways to reduce child poverty:

Also see the list of evaluated programs under “Employment and Welfare” on the website of the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy.

Related Indicators

Definition

Families are considered to be in poverty if their pre-tax money income (that is, not including in-kind benefits such as food stamps and not including the Earned Income Tax Credit) is less than a money income threshold that varies by family size and composition. The thresholds are updated annually to reflect inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. In 2014, the poverty threshold for a family of four with two related children under age 18 was $24,008, while the threshold of a family of three with two related children was $19,074. The thresholds are determined by estimating the cost of a minimally adequate diet for a family of a given configuration and size, multiplied by three.

Poverty thresholds for 1959 and beyond for various family configurations are available here. (Table 1)

Because the survey asks about income in the previous year, data on each year were collected in March of the following year. For instance, data on 2014 poverty were collected in March 2015.

In 2014, questions related to income were changed slightly, and this reduces comparability with previous data. More detail on this change is available here.

Data Sources

Data for 2002-2014: U.S. Census Bureau. CPS Table Creator (online tool), available at: http://www.census.gov/cps/data/cpstablecreator.html

Data for 2001: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Income, poverty and health insurance in the United States: detailed tables. Available at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/index.html

Data for 1998-2000: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Poverty in the United States: detailed tables. Available at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/index.html

Data for 1995-1997 for non-Hispanic whites, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Poverty in the United States: detailed tables. Available at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/index.html.

All other data for 1960-1997: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. (2002). Trends in the well-being of America’s children and youth 2001. Table ES 1.2.A. Author. Available at: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/01trends/

Raw Data Sources

Current Population Survey’s Social and Economic Supplement (formerly called the March Supplement), a joint project of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau.

www.census.gov/cps/

 

Appendix 1 – Percentage of Children in the United States Under Age 18 Living Below Selected Poverty Thresholds,1 by Race/Hispanic Origin: Selected Years, 1960-2014

1960 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Under 50% of FPL1 5.0 7.0 8.0 8.8 8.5 6.4 7.7 7.6 7.7 7.5 7.8 8.5 9.3 9.9 9.8 9.7 8.8 9.3
Race/ Hispanic origin2
White 4.0 5.0 6.0 6.0 5.6 5.8 5.9 5.7 5.9 6.6 7.5 7.8 8.1 7.7 6.9 7.4
Non-Hispanic white 3.9 3.7 4.1 4.5 4.1 4.3 4.3 4.5 5.0 5.1 5.6 5.4 4.5 5.4
Black 14.0 17.0 21.0 22.0 20.0 14.0 17.9 17.1 17.3 16.0 17.3 17.6 17.9 19.9 19.2 19.0 18.6 18.2
Hispanic 14.0 16.0 9.0 10.9 10.3 11.5 10.3 11.0 12.5 14.1 15.0 14.5 13.7 12.8 12.9
Mexican 16.0 9.0
Puerto Rican 23.9 15.0
Asian or Pacific Islander 5.7 5.0 5.5 4.1 4.3 5.0 4.8 7.3 7.5 6.5 5.1 6.8 4.5 6.1
Asian alone 5.4 4.0 4.3 5.0 4.9 6.8 6.9 5.8 5.0 6.1 3.9 4.9
Under 100% of FPL1 26.9 15.1 17.1 18.3 20.7 20.6 20.8 16.2 17.6 17.8 17.6 17.4 18.0 19.0 20.7 22.0 21.9 21.8 19.9 21.1
Race/ Hispanic origin2
Non-Hispanic white 10.8 11.8 12.8 12.3 11.2 9.1 9.8 10.5 10.0 10.0 10.1 10.6 11.9 12.3 12.5 12.3 10.7 12.3
Black 41.5 41.7 42.3 43.6 44.8 41.9 31.2 34.1 33.7 34.5 33.4 34.5 34.7 35.7 39.0 38.8 37.9 38.3 37.1
Hispanic 33.1 33.2 40.3 38.4 40.0 28.4 29.7 28.9 28.3 26.9 28.6 30.6 33.1 34.9 34.1 33.8 30.4 31.9
Mexican 39.8 29.0
Puerto Rican 54.2 29.0
Asian or Pacific Islander 17.6 19.5 12.7 12.7 10.1 11.0 12.5 12.5 15.6 14.5 15.6 13.7 14.7 11.1 14.4
Asian alone 12.5 9.9 11.1 12.2 12.5 14.6 14.0 14.4 13.5 13.8 10.1 13.9
1960 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Under 150% of FPL1 30.0 29.0 32.0 31.4 32.2 26.8 28.6 28.2 28.2 28.6 29.3 30.5 32.0 33.4 34.0 33.3 32.1 32.6
Race/ Hispanic origin2
White 24.0 24.0 26.0 25.0 24.6 24.4 24.1 24.7 25.5 26.6 28.1 29.2 30.4 29.5 27.8 28.8
Non-Hispanic white 20.1 16.9 17.6 17.5 17.2 17.7 17.8 19.0 19.8 20.5 21.5 20.7 19.1 20.7
Black 60.0 57.0 59.0 57.0 56.0 45.0 48.5 48.0 48.8 48.1 49.0 50.5 50.9 53.9 52.2 51.6 53.9 50.4
Hispanic 55.0 59.0 47.0 48.4 47.0 45.9 45.9 47.8 47.7 50.0 51.7 52.4 51.9 48.9 48.7
Mexican 61.1 50.0
Puerto Rican 65.5 45.0
Asian or Pacific Islander 29.5 23.0 21.2 19.7 19.8 20.7 22.3 24.0 24.7 23.5 25.0 24.2 22.6 24.1
Asian alone 21.3 18.7 19.4 19.9 21.8 22.2 23.8 22.1 23.6 22.8 21.1 24.1
Under 200% of FPL1 43.0 42.0 43.0 42.4 43.3 37.4 39.1 39.3 38.9 39.0 39.2 40.6 42.2 43.7 44.3 43.8 42.6 42.9
Race/ Hispanic origin2
White 38.0 37.0 38.0 37.0 34.7 35.1 34.6 35.0 35.0 36.5 38.2 39.1 40.5 39.9 38.4 38.8
Non-Hispanic white 30.5 25.6 26.4 26.8 26.2 26.3 26.2 27.3 28.7 29.1 30.4 30.0 28.5 29.2
Black 73.0 70.0 71.0 68.0 68.0 59.0 61.3 60.6 61.3 60.2 60.6 60.9 62.5 65.0 63.3 62.5 63.6 62.5
Hispanic 69.0 73.0 62.0 62.6 62.2 60.7 61.0 60.8 62.0 63.0 64.8 65.6 65.0 62.5 62.3
Mexican 75.3 65.0
Puerto Rican 74.3 58.0
Asian or Pacific Islander 40.5 32.0 29.7 30.0 28.8 27.4 30.2 32.5 32.6 35.3 35.3 34.1 32.6 32.6
Asian alone 29.7 29.2 28.4 26.2 29.2 30.8 31.7 33.4 33.4 32.3 31.6 32.4
“-“ indicates data not available.1The federal poverty level (abbreviated FPL) is based on pre-tax money income and does not include noncash benefits (such as Food Stamps) or the Earned Income Tax Credit. Poverty thresholds reflect family size and composition and are adjusted each year using the annual average Consumer Price Index (CPI) level. The average poverty threshold was $24,008 in 2014 for a family of four with two children. The levels shown here are derived from the ratio of the family’s income to the family’s poverty threshold in that year.

2 Estimates by race for 2002 and later years have been revised to reflect the new OMB race definitions, and include only those who are identified with a single race.

Sources: Data for 1995-1997 for non-Hispanic whites, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Poverty in the United States: detailed tables. Available at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/index.html. All other data for 1960-1997: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. (2002). Trends in the well-being of America’s children and youth 2001. Table ES 1.2.A. Author. Available at: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/01trends/ Data for 1998-2000: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Poverty in the United States: detailed tables. Available at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/index.html. Data for 2001: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Income, poverty and health insurance in the United States: detailed tables. Available at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/index.html. Data for 2002-2014: U.S. Census Bureau. CPS Table Creator (online tool), available at: http://www.census.gov/cps/data/cpstablecreator.html

Appendix 2 – Percentage of Related Children1 in the United States Living Below the Poverty Line,2 By Family Type and Race/Hispanic Origin: Selected Years, 1960-2014

1960 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
All Related Children 26.5 14.9 16.8 17.9 20.1 19.9 20.2 15.6 17.6 17.8 17.6 17.4 18.0 19.0 20.7 22.0 21.9 21.8 19.9 21.1
White3 20 10.5 14.3 14.8 14.4 14.1 14.9 15.8 17.7 18.5 18.6 18.5 16.4
Non-Hispanic white3 10.5 11.3 12.3 11.6 10.6 8.5 9.8 10.5 10.0 10.0 10.1 10.6 11.9 12.3 12.5 12.3 10.7 12.3
Black3 41.5 41.4 42.1 43.1 44.2 41.5 30.9 34.1 33.7 34.5 33.4 34.5 34.7 35.7 39.0 38.8 37.9 38.3 37.1
Hispanic 33.1 33 39.6 37.7 39.3 27.6 29.7 28.9 28.3 26.9 28.6 30.6 33.1 34.9 34.1 33.8 30.4 31.9
Asian or Pacific Islander3 17 18.6 12.5 12.7 10.1 11.0 12.5 12.5 15.6 14.5 15.6 13.7 14.7 11.1 14.4
Asian alone3 12.5 9.9 11.1 12.2 12.5 14.6 14.0 14.4 13.5 13.8 10.1 13.9
Related children under age 54 17 18 20 23 23 24 17 20.3 20.5 20.4 20.7 21.2 22.2 24.5 25.9 25.1 25.1 22.5
White3 12 14 16 18 18 16.8 17.4 17.5 17.1 17.9 18.9 21.0 21.5 21.8 21.5 17.9 19.7
Non-Hispanic white3 12.3 9 11.5 12.4 12.2 12.3 12.3 12.3 14.7 14.6 15.0 14.5 11.0 13.6
Black3 42 41 45 47 51 49 33 39.7 38.2 37.9 39.9 40.7 40.5 41.9 45.5 42.7 42.5 43.7 43.0
Hispanic 34 41 40 42 28 32.4 31.3 31.4 29.9 31.6 33.6 35.0 37.7 36.0 37.1 33.0 34.0
Asian or Pacific Islander3 21.6 12 8.5 8.3 9.3 8.0 10.1 14.4 14.8 16.7 13.0 14.6 11.4 16.3
Asian alone3 8.4 7.6 8.9 7.6 10.0 12.8 14.3 15.7 12.4 12.8 10.7 15.4
Related children ages 5-174 14 16 17 19 18 18 15 16.6 16.8 16.5 16.1 16.8 17.7 19.2 20.6 20.7 20.6 19.0 20.1
White3 10 12 12 14 14 13.4 13.8 13.3 12.9 13.7 14.6 16.3 17.4 17.5 17.4 15.8 17.3
Non-Hispanic white3 9.7 9 9.2 9.9 9.2 9.1 9.4 9.9 10.8 11.6 11.6 11.6 10.6 11.8
Black3 41 42 40 41 41 38 30 32.1 32.0 33.2 31.0 32.2 32.4 33.3 36.6 37.3 36.2 36.3 34.9
Hispanic 32 39 36 37 27 28.5 27.8 26.9 25.5 27.3 29.2 32.1 33.7 33.4 32.5 29.3 31.1
Asian or Pacific Islander3 16.9 15 14.3 10.8 11.7 14.3 13.5 16.1 14.5 15.2 14.0 14.7 11.0 13.6
Asian alone3 14.0 10.8 11.9 14.1 13.6 15.4 13.8 13.9 14.0 14.2 9.8 13.4
1960 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Children in Married-Couple Families 10 10 8 8.6 9.0 8.5 8.2 8.6 9.9 11.1 11.6 11.0 11.2 9.5 10.6
White3 9 8.2 8.6 8.0 7.5 8.3 9.4 10.4 10.9 10.5 10.6 8.8 10.3
Non-Hispanic white3 5.9 4.9 4.8 5.2 4.5 4.3 4.8 5.3 6.1 6.4 6.1 6.2 5.0 6.4
Black3 18 13 8 11.2 12.6 12.4 12.1 11.0 11.0 15.3 16.7 16.0 15.0 16.8 13.7
Hispanic 27 28 21 21.4 20.8 20.1 18.5 19.4 22.2 24.0 25.1 23.3 23.6 20.0 21.2
Asian or Pacific Islander3 14.8 12 8.7 7.9 8.9 9.1 9.8 13.3 11.6 11.2 9.5 10.7 7.8 9.9
Asian alone3 8.5 7.6 9.3 9.2 10.0 12.9 11.3 10.6 9.2 10.4 7.6 10,5
Related children under age 54 12 11 9 9.7 10.2 9.8 9.7 9.6 11.2 13.4 13.3 12.2 12.6 10.4 11.4
White3 11 9.8 10.0 9.8 9.5 9.5 10.9 12.6 12.3 12.0 12.0 9.3 10.9
Non-Hispanic white3 6.4 5 5.6 6.0 5.5 5.3 5.2 5.9 7.6 7.5 7.4 7.0 4.9 6.7
Black3 20 14 9 9.7 13.7 11.1 13.7 12.3 12.8 18.3 19.7 15.2 16.8 18.6 17.1
Hispanic 28 31 22 23.3 22.8 22.7 21.2 21.0 24.0 26.0 26.1 23.6 26.1 21.2 22.4
Asian or Pacific Islander3 15.2 9 6.6 6.3 8.4 5.4 8.0 11.9 12.7 13.1 10.5 11.2 7.3 11.3
Asian alone3 6.6 6.1 8.7 5.5 7.8 10.9 12.5 12.7 9.8 10.8 7.5 12.0
Related children ages 5-174 10 9 8 8.2 8.5 7.9 7.6 8.2 9.4 10.1 11.0 10.5 10.6 9.2 10.3
White3 8 7.6 8.0 7.2 6.7 7.8 8.8 9.4 10.4 10.0 10.0 8.6 10.1
Non-Hispanic white3 5.6 5 4.5 5.0 4.1 3.9 4.6 5.1 5.5 6.0 5.7 5.9 5.0 6.3
Black3 17 12 8 11.7 12.2 12.9 11.5 10.5 10.2 14.1 15.6 16.3 14.3 16.1 12.5
Hispanic 25 27 20 20.5 19.8 18.9 17.1 18.6 21.4 23.0 24.7 23.2 22.6 19.5 20.7
Asian or Pacific Islander3 14.6 13 9.5 8.6 9.2 10.7 10.7 13.9 11.1 10.4 9.1 10.5 8.0 9.3
Asian alone3 9.2 8.3 9.5 10.9 10.9 13.8 10.7 9.7 9.0 10.2 7.6 9.9
1960 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Children in Single-Mother Families 68.4 58.7 52.7 50.8 53.6 53.4 50.3 40.1 42.1 42.4 43.1 42.4 43.0 43.9 45.1 47.1 48.0 47.6 46.1 46.4
White3 60 43 44 42 45 46 37.5 39.1 39.5 38.3 39.3 40.2 42.3 44.2 45.0 44.7 42.2 42.9
Non-Hispanic white3 33.5 28 31.6 33.0 33.8 33.6 32.9 33.1 35.1 36.0 36.5 37.3 34.8 35.7
Black3 68 66 65 67 65 62 50 50.2 49.3 50.2 49.8 50.3 51.9 50.9 52.8 54.3 53.7 54.2 52.7
Hispanic 65 72 68 66 48 50.6 51.9 51.0 47.5 51.8 52.1 52.9 56.8 57.2 55.4 52.4 53.3
Asian or Pacific Islander3 42.4 32 37.2 20.0 26.5 35.7 33.3 29.7 29.4 40.5 35.7 35.1 29.1 36.4
Asian alone3 38.0 19.7 26.1 34.6 34.0 27.3 27.5 37.8 36.0 33.1 24.1 32.2
Related children under age 54 64 62 65 66 66 62 47 53.8 54.1 54.2 53.9 54.8 55.3 55.7 59.2 58.5 57.6 56.2 55.5
White3 59 58 60 59 60 50.4 52.5 53.0 50.2 53.6 53.2 53.7 56.9 57.7 56.6 51.7 52.6
Non-Hispanic white3 45.8 37 46.2 48.1 49.0 47.6 49.8 47.6 51.0 50.0 50.8 51.9 44.0 47.4
Black3 71 67 72 75 73 71 54 59.9 57.9 58.0 58.9 58.5 61.8 60.2 62.8 61.4 60.5 61.4 59.9
Hispanic 70 79 77 72 53 57.6 58.7 58.5 55.3 59.3 58.1 56.8 65.4 64.7 62.0 60.0 58.6
Asian or Pacific Islander3 67.1 40 29.1 19.4 19.8 40.3 36.4 33.8 30.6 52.3 35.5 39.7 46.9 43.0
Asian alone3 28.6 12.9 15.5 38.5 37.1 30.2 28.5 49.8 34.8 34.3 40.1 37.2
Related children ages 5-174 49 49 46 48 47 45 37 38.4 38.6 39.4 38.4 38.8 39.7 41.2 43.0 44.3 44.2 42.7 43.2
White3 38 40 36 40 39 33.8 35.0 35.2 34.5 34.7 35.7 38.3 40.3 40.9 40.9 39.1 39.8
Non-Hispanic white3 28.6 24 27.9 29.0 29.6 29.5 28.2 29.0 30.4 32.3 32.6 33.1 32.4 32.4
Black3 66 66 62 63 60 57 48 46.7 46.3 47.5 46.2 46.9 48.0 47.2 49.1 51.6 51.3 51.6 49.9
Hispanic 62 70 64 62 46 48.0 49.2 47.9 44.5 48.6 49.2 51.2 53.5 54.3 52.8 49.4 51.3
Asian or Pacific Islander3 31.5 29 39.2 20.1 28.4 34.6 32.5 28.5 29.2 37.0 35.8 33.9 24.8 33.7
Asian alone3 40.3 21.2 28.9 33.7 33.1 26.5 27.3 34.3 36.3 32.8 20.2 30.5
“-“ indicates data not available.1 Related children include biological children, stepchildren, and adopted children of the householder and all other children in the household related to the householder (or reference person) by blood, marriage, or adoption.

2 The federal poverty level (abbreviated FPL) is based on pre-tax money income and does not include noncash benefits (such as Food Stamps) or the Earned Income Tax Credit. Poverty thresholds reflect family size and composition and are adjusted each year using the annual average Consumer Price Index (CPI) level. The average poverty threshold was $23,624 in 2013 for a family of four with two children. The levels shown here are derived from the ratio of the family’s income to the family’s poverty threshold in that year.

3 Estimates by race for 2002 and later years have been revised to reflect the new OMB race definitions, and include only those who are identified with a single race.

4 The age categories for data prior to 2002 are “Related children under the age of 6” and “ Related children ages 6-17”.

Sources: Data for 1995-1997 for non-Hispanic whites and Asian and Pacific Islanders: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Poverty in the United States: detailed tables. Available at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/index.html. All other data for 1960-1997: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. (2002). Trends in the well-being of America’s children and youth 2001. Table ES 1.2.A. Author. Available at: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/01trends/ Data for 1998-2000: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Poverty in the United States: detailed tables. Available at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/index.html. Data for 2001: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Income, poverty and health insurance in the United States: detailed tables. Available at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/index.html. Data for 2002-2013: U.S. Census Bureau. CPS Table Creator (online tool), available at: http://www.census.gov/cps/data/cpstablecreator.html

 

Endnotes

[1]DeNavas-Walt, C. & Proctor, B. D. (2015). Income and poverty in the United States: 2014. Current Population Reports, Series P60-252, Figure 5. Available at: http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/p60-252.pdf

[2]Ibid, Appendix B.

[3]Farah, M. J., Shera, D. M., Savage, J. H., Betancourt, L, Giannetta, J. M., Brodsky, N. L., Malmud, E. K., & Hurt, H. (2006). Childhood poverty: Specific associations with neurocognitive development. Brain Research, 1110, 166-174.

[4]National Center for Children in Poverty. (1999). Poverty and brain development. Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health. Available at: http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_398.html

[5]Mather, M. & Adams, D. (2006). A KIDS COUNT/PRB report on Census 2000: The risk of negative child outcomes in low-income families. KIDS COUNT & Population Reference Bureau. Available at: http://www.aecf.org/upload/PublicationFiles/DA3622H1234.pdf

[6]Huffman, L. C., Mehlinger, S. L., & Kerivan, A. S. (2000). Risk factors for academic and behavioral problems at the beginning of school. The Child and Mental Health Foundation Agencies Network.

[7]Bradley, R.H. & Corwyn, R.F. (2002).Socioeconomic status and child development. Annual Review of Psychology,53, 371-99. Available at: http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.psych.53.100901.135233?journalCode=psych

[8]Haveman, R., Wolfe, B., & Wilson, K. (1997). Childhood poverty and adolescent schooling and fertility outcomes: Reduced-form and structural estimates, in Duncan, G.J. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (eds.), Consequences of Growing Up Poor. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Available at: http://www.russellsage.org/publications/books/0-87154-143-2

[9]Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne and Duncan, Greg J. (1997). The effects of poverty on children. Future of Children, Child and Poverty, 7(2). Available at: http://www.futureofchildren.org/pubs-info2825/pubs-info_show.htm?doc_id=72141

[10]Ratcliffe, C., & McKernan, S-M. (2012). Child poverty and its lasting consequence. The Urban Institute. Available at: http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412659-Child-Poverty-and-Its-Lasting-Consequence-Paper.pdf

[11]Bradley, R. H. & Corwyn, R.F . (2002). Op. cit.

[12]Dahl, G. & Lochner, L. (2005). The impact of family income on child achievement. Institute for Research on Poverty. Discussion Paper no. 1305-05. Available at: http://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/dps/pdfs/dp130505.pdf

[13]Huffman, L. C., Mehlinger, S. L., & Kerivan, A. S. (2000). Op. cit.

[14]Moore, K. A., & Redd, Z. (2002). Children in poverty: trends, consequences, and policy options. Child Trends. Available at: http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/PovertyRB.pdf

[15]Bradley, R. H. & Corwyn, R. F. (2002). Op. cit.

[16]Hauser, R. M. & Sweeney, M. M. (1997). Does poverty in adolescence affect the life chances of high school graduates? in Duncan, G.J. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (eds.), Consequences of Growing Up Poor. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Available at: http://www.russellsage.org/publications/books/0-87154-143-2

[17]Ratcliffe & McKernan. (2012). Op. cit.

[18]Melchior, M., Moffitt,T. E., Milne, B. J., Poulton, R., & Caspi, A. (2007). Why do children from socioeconomically disadvantaged families suffer from poor health when they reach adulthood? A life-course study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 166(8), 966-974.

[19]Evans, G. W., & Schaumberg, M. A. (2009). Childhood poverty, chronic stress, and adult working memory. PNAS, 106(16), 6545-6549.

[20]Duncan, G. J. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (Eds.). (1997). Consequences of growing up poor. NY: Russell Sage Foundation.

[21]Ratcliffe, C. (2015). Child poverty and adult success. Urban Institute. Available at http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/2000369-Child-Poverty-and-Adult-Success.pdf

[22]DeNavas-Walt, C. & Proctor, B. D. (2014). Income and poverty in the United States: 2013. Current Population Reports, Series P60-249, Available at: http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/p60-249.pdf

[23]For discussion of the limitations of the federal poverty measure, see Blank, R. M. & Greenberg, M. H. (2008). Improving the measurement of poverty (discussion paper 2008-17). The Brookings Institution. Available at http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2008/12/poverty-measurement-blank.

[24]Short, Kathleen. (2015). The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2014. Current Population Reports, Series P60-254, Table 4a. Available at: http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/p60-254.pdf

[25]Hispanics may be any race. Estimates for whites in this report do not include Hispanics.

 

Suggested Citation:

Child Trends Databank. (2015). Children in poverty. Available at: http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=children-in-poverty

 
Last updated: December 2015

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