Child Poverty Rate Remains Flat Nationwide

Posted September 19, 2015
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog childpovertyrateremainsflat 2015

Child advo­cates and econ­o­mists cel­e­brat­ed a mile­stone in 2013 when the nation­al child pover­ty rate fell for the first time since the start of the Great Recession. 

This trend was expect­ed to con­tin­ue along with the country’s job growth, increased con­sumer spend­ing and drop in unem­ploy­ment. How­ev­er, new data from the 2014 Amer­i­can Com­mu­ni­ty Sur­vey (ACS) is offi­cial­ly cut­ting the cel­e­bra­tions short. The sur­vey results, released Sept. 17, 2015, sug­gest that the nation­al child pover­ty rate remained stag­nant from 2013 to 2014 — a sign that the country’s eco­nom­ic recov­ery is still leav­ing the low­est-income fam­i­lies behind. 

Accord­ing to the ACS data, one in five kids still live in pover­ty. This real­i­ty is espe­cial­ly true for chil­dren of col­or. In 2014, black (38%), Amer­i­can Indi­an (36%) and Lati­no (32%) chil­dren were more like­ly to live in pover­ty rel­a­tive to their white and Asian coun­ter­parts (both 13%). 

On a nation­al lev­el, the inci­dence of child pover­ty flat­lined between 2013 and 2014 and still exceeds the pre-reces­sion rate. At the state lev­el, child pover­ty rates improved in 24 states as well as the Dis­trict of Colum­bia. Sev­en­teen states saw no change, and the remain­ing nine states — with Alas­ka, New Hamp­shire and North Dako­ta lead­ing the list — saw child pover­ty rates rise.

States with the Largest Declines in Child Poverty

State 2013 2014 Per­cent Change
Mis­sis­sip­pi 34% 29% -15%*
Utah 15% 13% -13%*
Col­orado 17% 15% -12%*
Nebras­ka 18% 16% -11%
Arkansas 29% 26% -10%*
Mon­tana 21% 19% -10%*

* Change is significant

States with the Largest Increas­es in Child Poverty

State 2013 2014 Per­cent Change
Alas­ka 12% 16% 33%*
New Hamp­shire 10% 13% 30%*
North Dako­ta 12% 15% 25%*
Hawaii 13% 15% 15%
Ver­mont 15% 16% 7%
Min­neso­ta 14% 15% 7%

* Change is significant

New pover­ty data now avail­able on the KIDS COUNT Data Center

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