Two in Five U.S. Children Live in a Low-Income Family

Posted May 4, 2018
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Two in five children in the United States are in low-income families.

Across the Unit­ed States, 41% of kids live in low-income fam­i­lies. While this sta­tis­tic has fall­en since 2013, it has yet to return to its pre-reces­sion rate of 39% in 2007.

The like­li­hood that a child grows up in a low-income fam­i­ly varies wide­ly by race and eth­nic­i­ty. White and Asian and Pacif­ic Islander chil­dren are least like­ly to live in a low-income house­hold — just 29% of kids from these demo­graph­ic groups do. But oth­er chil­dren face dou­ble the risk: 61% of Amer­i­can Indi­an and African-Amer­i­can kids as well as 59% of Lati­no chil­dren live in a low-income family.

This sta­tis­tic also varies by state. For exam­ple: 56% of kids in New Mex­i­co live in a low-income fam­i­ly while just 23% of kids in New Hamp­shire do.

Children below 200 percent of poverty

Among the 30 mil­lion chil­dren across the coun­try who are grow­ing up in low-income fam­i­lies, 96% live in a home where at least one adult is work­ing. Despite this high rate of parental employ­ment, the fam­i­ly finances of low-income house­holds are often so ten­u­ous that build­ing a safe­ty net can be chal­leng­ing if not impossible.

The data also indi­cate that America’s youngest chil­dren — infants to age 8 — are more like­ly than their old­er coun­ter­parts to grow up in a low-income house­hold. Where­as 41% of all kids live in a low-income fam­i­ly, a sober­ing 44% of young chil­dren do.

Access more eco­nom­ic well-being data on the KIDS COUNT Data Center:

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