Child Poverty






Note: Error bars are used to indicate the error, or uncertainty, in a reported measurement.

Why is this important?

Child poverty is a strong indicator of a family’s economic conditions and negatively affects health, educational outcomes, and the future earning potential of our region’s children.[i] Children who live in poverty are much more likely to experience marginalization from society than are their wealthier peers, whether due to unemployment, incarceration, low educational attainment, or early childbearing. They are at a higher risk of being violent and of experiencing health problems as adults.[ii] Poverty has a strong impact on children’s long-term achievement, which impacts economic mobility.[iii] Demographic populations with higher rates of child poverty bear a disproportionate share of this burden.[iv] In addition, concentrated neighborhood poverty can affect educational attainment and future earnings. For example, high school graduates are less likely to get a job after school if they come from a neighborhood with high poverty.[v] Students enrolled in schools with higher socioeconomic status are more likely to attend college, further increasing the likelihood that these children will earn self-sufficient wages as adults and be able to contribute to the prosperity of our region.[vi]


[i] J. Brooks-Gunn, and G. Duncan, "The Effects of Poverty on Children," The Future of Children 7, no. 2 (1997): 55-71.

[ii] Helen Epstein, “Enough to make you Sick?,” The New York Times Magazine, October 2003. "Youth and violence: A report of the Surgeon General," (2001).

[iii] M. Corcoran, "Rags to Rags: Poverty and Mobility in the United States," Annual Review of Sociology 21 (1995): 237-267.

[iv] L. Anderson, C. Shinn, M. Fullilove, S. Scrimshaw, J. Fielding, J. Normand, and V. Carande-Kulis, "The Effectiveness of Early Childhood Development Programs: A Systematic Review," The American Journal of Preventative Medicine 24, no. 3S (2003): 31-45.  

[v] M. A. Turner and D. Acevedo-Garcia, "Why housing mobility? The research evidence today," Poverty & Race Research Action Council Newsletter (2005).

[vi] G. Orfield and C. Lee, “Brown at 50: King’s dream or Plessy’s nightmare?” Cambridge, MA: The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University (2004).