Economic Indicators | Children

Weak economic recovery reflected in high state-level poverty and child poverty rates

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New American Community Survey (ACS) poverty data for 2010 released today by the US Census Bureau paint a painful picture of families paying the price for an economic recovery that has left far too many of them behind. The combined impact of high unemployment and declining wages has resulted in a national poverty rate of 15.1 percent (as determined by the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, released last week). Today’s state-level data release tells us that poverty rates range from 8.3 percent in New Hampshire to 22.4 percent in Mississippi.

And while overall poverty rates are alarming, child poverty rates tell the tale of a wealthy nation that seems content to leave a significant portion of its children behind. Nearly one in three children in Mississippi (32.5 percent), the District of Columbia (30.4 percent), and New Mexico (30.0 percent) lived in poverty in 2010, and in nearly half of the states, more than one in five children lived in poverty last year. Unless and until national and state policy makers work together to put Americans back to work and to aggressively redouble efforts to reduce poverty, we will continue to see poverty and child poverty rates that highlight persistent inequalities in this wealthy nation.

Population for whom poverty status is determined Children (Under 18) for whom poverty status is determined
# Below Poverty % Below Poverty # Below Poverty % Below Poverty
United States 46,215,956 15.3 15,749,129 21.6
Alabama 888,290 19 310,590 27.7
Alaska 69,279 9.9 23,773 12.9
Arizona 1,094,249 17.4 392,229 24.4
Arkansas 534,898 18.8 193,081 27.6
California 5,783,043 15.8 2,012,585 22
Colorado 659,786 13.4 210,532 17.4
Connecticut 350,145 10.1 103,498 12.8
Delaware 103,427 11.8 36,655 18.1
DC 109,423 19.2 30,555 30.4
Florida 3,047,343 16.5 923,963 23.5
Georgia 1,688,932 17.9 610,722 24.8
Hawaii 142,185 10.7 41,230 13.9
Idaho 242,272 15.7 80,316 19
Illinois 1,731,711 13.8 600,045 19.4
Indiana 962,775 15.3 342,172 21.7
Iowa 370,507 12.6 115,365 16.3
Kansas 377,530 13.6 131,258 18.4
Kentucky 800,226 19 262,760 26.3
Louisiana 825,144 18.7 299,779 27.3
Maine 167,242 12.9 47,727 17.8
Maryland 557,140 9.9 173,113 13
Massachusetts 725,143 11.4 200,817 14.3
Michigan 1,618,257 16.8 538,649 23.5
Minnesota 599,516 11.6 192,437 15.2
Mississippi 643,883 22.4 241,595 32.5
Missouri 888,570 15.3 290,959 20.9
Montana 140,969 14.6 43,818 20.1
Nebraska 229,923 12.9 81,952 18.2
Nevada 398,027 14.9 144,204 22
New Hampshire 105,786 8.3 28,315 10
New Jersey 884,789 10.3 295,346 14.5
New Mexico 413,851 20.4 153,558 30
New York 2,821,470 14.9 900,626 21.2
North Carolina 1,627,602 17.5 559,875 24.9
North Dakota 84,895 13 24,116 16.2
Ohio 1,779,032 15.8 623,852 23.3
Oklahoma 616,610 16.9 226,679 24.7
Oregon 596,408 15.8 183,859 21.6
Pennsylvania 1,648,184 13.4 522,189 19.1
Rhode Island 142,188 14 42,221 19
South Carolina 815,755 18.2 277,722 26.1
South Dakota 113,760 14.4 35,960 18.2
Tennessee 1,095,466 17.7 377,066 25.7
Texas 4,414,481 17.9 1,751,189 25.7
Utah 359,242 13.2 135,565 15.7
Vermont 76,352 12.7 21,143 16.7
Virginia 861,969 11.1 264,601 14.5
Washington 888,718 13.4 284,045 18.2
West Virginia 326,507 18.1 95,744 25.5
Wisconsin 731,479 13.2 249,826 19.1
Wyoming 61,577 11.2 19,253 14.3

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, Table S1701 Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months.


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