Shrinking Share of Young Kids Living in Economic Distress in 2017

Posted May 14, 2019
Update youngchildreninpovery

The per­cent­age of young chil­dren liv­ing below 200% of the fed­er­al pover­ty lev­el con­tin­ues to shrink across the nation. In 2017, 42% of chil­dren, ages 0 to 8, lived in such set­tings, accord­ing to new­ly avail­able data. This sta­tis­tic is down from 44% in 2016 and 48% in 2012.

In the last five years, the total num­ber of young chil­dren liv­ing below 200% pover­ty has also fall­en: 14,758,000 kids met this thresh­old in 2017 — down near­ly 2.5 mil­lion chil­dren from 2012.

The like­li­hood that young chil­dren are liv­ing at this lev­el of eco­nom­ic dis­tress varies wide­ly from state to state. Rates in 2017 ranged from a low of 25% in New Hamp­shire to a high of 57% in New Mex­i­co. In three states — Alaba­ma (49% to 51%), Delaware (41% to 42%) and Louisiana (51% to 53%) — the like­li­hood of kids liv­ing below 200% pover­ty grew from 2016 to 2017.

In Puer­to Rico, low-income rates for young chil­dren have his­tor­i­cal­ly run far high­er: In 2017, 83% of the island’s kids lived below 200% pover­ty. This sta­tis­tic is down from 85% in 2016.

Eco­nom­ic suc­cess and sta­bil­i­ty can help chil­dren grow up healthy and thrive. At the same time, chil­dren liv­ing amid eco­nom­ic stress and hard­ship can expe­ri­ence neg­a­tive phys­i­cal, emo­tion­al and men­tal reper­cus­sions that can hin­der their devel­op­ment and aca­d­e­m­ic success.

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