In this brief, authors Jessica Carson, Andrew Schaefer, and Marybeth Mattingly use American Community Survey data to explore child poverty rates across the United States by region, state, and place type (rural, suburban, and city). They also examine data on children who are deeply poor (those in families with incomes below half of the poverty line), as well as low-income children (those in families with incomes less than twice the poverty line). They report that in 2014, more than four in ten children (44.1 percent) lived in low-income families. More than one-fifth of children (21.7 percent) were poor, and nearly one-tenth (9.6 percent) lived in deep poverty. The share of children living in deeply poor, poor, and low-income homes declined between 2013 and 2014. In all regions and place types (rural, suburban and city), the share of poor and low-income children was higher in 2014 than at the official end of the Great Recession in 2009. That more than four in ten of the nation’s children live in low-income homes, the authors conclude, highlights the critical importance of both improving access to opportunity and of making work pay for America’s most vulnerable families. Given dramatic differences in the cost of living across the nation, it may be worthwhile to consider making or increasing geographic adjustments to a host of safety net programs.

Publication Date

Winter 12-16-2015


National Issue Brief No. 94


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2015. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.



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