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Status of Education in Rural America
NCES 2007-040
June 2007

1.7. Children in poverty


The proportion of children living near or below the poverty threshold in rural areas was smaller than in towns or cities, but larger than in suburban areas in 2004.

Using annual household incomes collected by the American Community Survey (ACS), households in poverty are defined as those having an annual income below the poverty threshold (for a comparison of poverty definitions see appendix B). In 2004, 18 percent of children under the age of 18 were living in families below the poverty threshold, while 19 percent were living in families between the poverty threshold and 185 percent of the poverty threshold (table 1.7).

The percentage of children under the age of 18 in rural areas who were living in families in poverty (15 percent) was smaller than in cities and towns (25 percent each) (figure 1.7). However, a larger percentage of rural children lived in poverty than suburban children (15 vs. 13 percent). These same patterns were found for children under the age of 5 and for children ages 5 to 17 (table 1.7), as well as for families headed by a married couple, a single mother, and a single father (table A-1.7).

Widening the focus to include children living in families below 185 percent of the poverty threshold, including those living in poverty, reveals similar patterns. The percentage of children under the age of 18 in rural areas who were living in families at or below 185 percent of the poverty threshold (35 percent) was smaller than in cities (47 percent) or towns (46 percent), but larger than in suburban areas (28 percent) (figure 1.7). These same patterns were detected among children under the age of 5 and children between ages 5 and 17.


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