Poverty Across America Falls Back to Prerecession Rate

Posted October 23, 2018
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Updates povertyacrossamerica 2018

Dur­ing the Great Reces­sion, the nation’s pover­ty rate hit 16% — and stub­born­ly held there — from 2011 to 2014. In recent years, how­ev­er, this rate has dropped and con­tin­ues to move in the right direction.

Case in point: In 2017, 43 mil­lion peo­ple were liv­ing in pover­ty. This fig­ure rep­re­sents 13% of the total pop­u­la­tion, which mir­rors the nation’s pre­re­ces­sion pover­ty rate.

The pro­por­tion of kids and young adults liv­ing in pover­ty has his­tor­i­cal­ly exceed­ed the nation­al rate. For instance, 18% of kids (ages 0 to 17) and 21% of young adults (ages 18 to 24) were liv­ing in pover­ty in 2017. For both age groups, these rates have fall­en since peak­ing in 2011 and 2012, and they are now on par with pre­re­ces­sion levels.

Poli­cies like the Earned Income Tax Cred­it, the Afford­able Care Act and child care assis­tance have helped dri­ve pover­ty rates down. As a result, peo­ple young and old have more resources to address their dai­ly food, shel­ter and health needs.

Explore more pover­ty data on the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

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