Thirty-five Largest U.S. Cities Saw Increase in Child Poverty Rate Between 2005 and 2013

Posted September 22, 2014, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Blog 35 Largest US Cities Saw Poverty Increase 2014

The 2013 Amer­i­can Com­mu­ni­ty Sur­vey (ACS) data show the first decline in the nation­al child pover­ty rate since it began to rise in 2008. Although many cities also expe­ri­enced declines between 2012 and 2013, the child pover­ty rate in the major­i­ty of America’s largest cities has not yet returned to pre-reces­sion lev­els. Among the 50 largest U.S. cities, 35 expe­ri­enced increas­es in child pover­ty rates between 2005 and 2013

Detroit, Cleve­land, Fres­no, Mem­phis, Tenn., and Mia­mi had the high­est rates of chil­dren liv­ing in pover­ty, while San Fran­cis­co; Vir­ginia Beach, Va.; Col­orado Springs, Colo.; San Jose, Calif.; and Seat­tle had the low­est rates, accord­ing to an analy­sis by the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion and the Pop­u­la­tion Ref­er­ence Bureau. 

Between 2005 and 2012, the nation­al per­cent­age of chil­dren liv­ing in pover­ty — or below 100 per­cent of the fed­er­al pover­ty lev­el (FPL) — rose from 19 to 23 per­cent. In 2013, the rate declined to 22 per­cent of chil­dren rep­re­sent­ing 16.1 mil­lion chil­dren liv­ing in pover­ty. The 2013 fed­er­al pover­ty lev­el was about $23,600 for a fam­i­ly of four.

Las Vegas, Jack­sonville, Fla., Phoenix, Seat­tle and Indi­anapo­lis had the biggest increase in rates of chil­dren liv­ing in pover­ty between 2005 and 2013.

The ACS data were released Sept. 18.

Among the 50 largest U.S. cities, those with the high­est child pover­ty rates in 2013 were:

City Rate of Chil­dren Living
Below 100% of FPL
Mar­gin of Error
(+/-)
Detroit 59% 1.8
Cleve­land 54% 2.7
Fres­no 48% 2.2
Mem­phis 46% 2.3
Mia­mi 44% 3.4

Note: The San Juan, P.R., rate is 62 per­cent but is not ranked against oth­er U.S. cities.

Cities with the low­est rates in 2013 were:

City Rate of Chil­dren Living
Below 100% of FPL
Mar­gin of Error
(+/-)
San Fran­cis­co 12% 1.8
Vir­ginia Beach 13% 2.0
Col­orado Springs 14% 2.0
San Jose 17% 1.4
Seat­tle 17% 2.2

Among the 50 largest U.S. cities, those with the biggest increase in their child pover­ty rate between 2005 and 2013 are:

City Increase in Per­cent­age of Children
Liv­ing Below 100% of FPL
Las Vegas 75%
Jack­sonville 63%
Phoenix 42%
Seat­tle 42%
Indi­anapo­lis 41%

The cities with the biggest decline in their child pover­ty rate between 2005 and 2013 were:

City Decrease in Per­cent­age of Children
Liv­ing Below 100% of FPL
El Paso 24%
Atlanta 22%
Min­neapo­lis 16%
Port­land 15%
Col­orado Springs 13%

Note: The Dis­trict of Colum­bia rate is 16 per­cent but is not ranked against oth­er U.S. cities.

These num­bers under­score that mil­lions of chil­dren are liv­ing in fam­i­lies who are bare­ly get­ting by eco­nom­i­cal­ly, which can affect their well-being and their abil­i­ty to suc­ceed as adults,” said Lau­ra Speer, asso­ciate direc­tor of pol­i­cy reform and data at the Casey Foun­da­tion. Now more than ever, the future pros­per­i­ty of the Unit­ed States depends on our abil­i­ty to fos­ter the health and well-being of the next generation.”

The 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book marks the Casey Foundation’s 25th year of track­ing the well-being of chil­dren at the nation­al and state lev­els. The 2014 Data Book also exam­ines how U.S. chil­dren have fared since 1990.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Cen­ter has been updat­ed with eco­nom­ic data from the 2013 ACS includ­ing the num­bers and rates of chil­dren liv­ing in fam­i­lies with incomes below both the fed­er­al pover­ty line and 200 per­cent of that line. The lat­est data cov­er chil­dren at the state and city lev­el, as well as in con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts. The num­bers also include demo­graph­ic fac­tors, such as race.

The KIDS COUNT Data Cen­ter con­tains maps and graphs of the lat­est data on pover­ty, health insur­ance cov­er­age and hun­dreds of oth­er indi­ca­tors of child well-being. The Data Cen­ter is enhanced by a user-friend­ly mobile site, mobile​.kid​scount​.org, and allows users to import badges, maps and graphs direct­ly to their web­sites or for use in pre­sen­ta­tions and publications.

Indi­ca­tors based on the lat­est ACS and cur­rent pover­ty esti­mates will be updat­ed as data become avail­able, with the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion and the Pop­u­la­tion Ref­er­ence Bureau com­pil­ing the updates.

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