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

Posted September 22, 2014
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 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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