In 2009, some 19 percent of 5- to 17-year-olds were in families living in poverty, compared with 15 percent in 2000 and 17 percent in 1990.
In 2009, approximately 19 percent of 5- to 17-year-old children in the United States were in families living in poverty (see table A-29-1). The region with the highest rate of poverty among school-age children in 2009 was the South (21 percent), followed by the West (18 percent), Midwest (18 percent), and the Northeast (16 percent).
At the state level, child poverty rates across the United States ranged from 10 to 32 percent in 2009. In the District of Columbia and Mississippi, 32 and 29 percent, respectively, of children were living in poverty in 2009. In contrast, New Hampshire and Maryland each had 10 percent of school-age children living in poverty. When compared to the U.S. national rate of child poverty in 2009, some 21 states had rates that were lower than the national average, 16 states and the District of Columbia had rates that were higher than the national average, and 13 states had rates that were not measurably different from the national average. Of the 17 jurisdictions (16 states and the District of Columbia) that had poverty rates above the national average, 14 were located in the South.
In general, child poverty rates across the United States decreased from 1990 to 2000. For the United States as a whole, 17 percent of school-age children in 1990 were in poverty, compared with 15 percent of children in 2000. From 1990 to 2000, the child poverty rate decreased in 38 states. Six states and the District of Columbia had increases in child poverty rates from 1990 to 2000. Both the Midwest and the South experienced a decrease in child poverty rates over this time period (from 15 to 12 percent and 20 to 18 percent, respectively), while the Northeast and the West did not show a measurable change.
From 2000 to 2009, the percentage of school-age children living in poverty in the United States increased from 15 to 19 percent. The child poverty rate was higher in 2009 than in 2000 for 36 states and all regions. In spite of the general decrease in child poverty rates from 1990 to 2000, some 30 states and the District of Columbia had higher child poverty rates in 2009 than in 1990, while 17 states had child poverty rates that were not measurably different than they were in 1990. Three states, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia, had significant decreases in the percentages of children living in poverty from 1990 to 2009. The percentages of school-age children living in poverty were higher in 2009 than in 1990 for the West, Midwest, and Northeast, while the child poverty rates in 1990 and 2009 in the South were not measurably different.
From 2008 to 2009 the child poverty rate increased from 17 to 19 percent. All regions experienced increases in child poverty rates between 2008 and 2009, as did 18 states.
Children in families include own children and all other children in the household who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption. For more information on poverty and region, see supplemental note 1. For more information on the American Community Survey, see supplemental note 3.
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