Another Look at Child Poverty: The Supplemental Poverty Measure

Posted July 27, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog anotherlookatchildpoverty 2017

In the Unit­ed States, 17% of chil­dren — 12.5 mil­lion kids total — are liv­ing in pover­ty, accord­ing to the Sup­ple­men­tal Pover­ty Measure.

This sta­tis­tic varies wide­ly by state: Child pover­ty rates are low­est in Min­neso­ta (8%), Maine (9%) and Wyoming (9%) and high­est in Cal­i­for­nia (24%), Flori­da (22%) and Geor­gia (21%).

Unlike the offi­cial pover­ty mea­sure — which sets the nation’s child pover­ty rate at 21% — the Sup­ple­men­tal Pover­ty Mea­sure accounts for geo­graph­ic vari­a­tions when cal­cu­lat­ing cost of liv­ing. It also con­sid­ers the impact of sev­er­al impor­tant fed­er­al pro­grams, such as the Earned Income Tax Cred­it and the Sup­ple­men­tal Nutri­tion Assis­tance Pro­gram (com­mon­ly called SNAP) as well as oth­er influ­ences on a family’s bud­get. As a result, the Sup­ple­men­tal Pover­ty Mea­sure can paint a dif­fer­ent — and more nuanced— pic­ture of child pover­ty and help describe how social safe­ty net pro­grams and tax poli­cies are affect­ing families.

Read a Data Snap­shot about an ear­li­er iter­a­tion of the Sup­ple­men­tal Pover­ty Measure

Vis­it the KIDS COUNT Data Cen­ter for more Eco­nom­ic Well-Being data at the nation­al and state-level

Learn about chil­dren in pover­ty, as described by the Sup­ple­men­tal Pover­ty Measure

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