More Kids Living in Low-Income Families Today Than Before Recession

Posted February 3, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog morekidslivinginlowincomefamilies 2017

The fed­er­al­ly defined label of low-income applies to more chil­dren today than it did a decade ago, before the onset of the Great Reces­sion. In total, 31 mil­lion kids— 43% of the nation’s chil­dren — now live in fam­i­lies that are low-income.

Black, Amer­i­can Indi­an and Lati­no kids are more like­ly to live in low-income fam­i­lies com­pared their white and Asian peers. Young chil­dren are also more like­ly to live in fam­i­lies that fit the low-income label.

When it comes to child well-being, the research is clear: Fam­i­ly finances mat­ter. Pover­ty can impede a child’s abil­i­ty to learn and con­tribute to social, emo­tion­al and behav­ioral prob­lems. Risks are great­est for chil­dren who expe­ri­ence pover­ty ear­ly or expe­ri­ence deep and per­sis­tent pover­ty, accord­ing to the Nation­al Cen­ter for Chil­dren in Poverty.

The good news? The num­ber of chil­dren liv­ing in low-income fam­i­lies has dropped in recent years, and five states — Mon­tana, North Dako­ta, Okla­homa, South Dako­ta and Texas plus the Dis­trict of Colum­bia — have seen this sta­tis­tic dip below pre-reces­sion levels.

Note: The gov­ern­ment defines low-income dif­fer­ent­ly depend­ing on a family’s size and com­po­si­tion. In 2015, the low-income thresh­old for a fam­i­ly of two adults and two kids was $48,072.

Explore more pover­ty data — at the state and nation­al lev­el — in the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

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