Measuring Access to Opportunity in the United States

KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

February 25, 2015


This KIDS COUNT data snapshot illustrates how outdated methods measuring poverty in the United States are giving an inaccurate picture of how families are really faring and what public programs are actually working. The brief introduces the more accurate Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) and shows how government programs affect state poverty rates. Recommendations on targeting families in need give policymakers input on implementing efficient and cost-effective public programs. 

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Child poverty rates by state vary dramatically using the Supplemental Poverty Measure

Regional patterns in child poverty differ from the traditional poverty measure.

Findings & Stats

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Government Programs Effective

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) shows the effectiveness of government programs in helping the poor. The data show that without any government interventions the child poverty rate would nearly double, from 18% to 33%.

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Child Poverty Highest in California

Using the Supplemental Poverty Measure, California has the highest child poverty rate among states, followed by Arizona and Nevada.

Statements & Quotations