Data Snapshot: 2016 Child Poverty Rate Sees Largest Decline Since Before Great Recession

Poverty Persists as Challenge for the United States
September 14, 2017
 

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Key Findings

image of decreasing bar chart
The Great Recession officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, but it continues to influence U.S. economic trends.

Summary

Child poverty declined by 1.2 percentage points between 2015 and 2016, according to analyses of the official poverty measure (OPM) in the latest American Community Survey. By 2016, child poverty across the nation was still 1.5 percentage points higher than before the Great Recession.

 Child poverty remained higher in cities and rural places than in the suburbs. Across the nation there is substantial variability both in the level of poverty and in improvement since the start of the Great Recession—25 states have child poverty rates higher than those in 2007 (see what’s happening in your state). Of course, the official poverty measure is only one indicator of economic challenge, and many families living above the poverty line still struggle to make ends meet. 

Percent of Children in Poverty By Place Type, 2007-2016
 

 

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About the Author(s)

Beth Mattingly
Beth Mattingly is director of research on vulnerable families at the Carsey School of Public Policy. She manages all of Carsey’s policy relevant work relating to family well-being. Topics covered by the vulnerable families research team range from refundable tax credits, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other federal programs, as well as policies that help families balance the domains of work and family like access to affordable child care and paid sick leave. Her interests center on women, children, and family well-being. Read More...
Andrew Schaefer
Andrew Schaefer is a Vulnerable Families Research Scientist at the Carsey School of Public Policy. Andrew joined Carsey in May 2010 as a research assistant on the Vulnerable Families research team. Much of his work at Carsey focuses on poverty, the social safety net, and women and work, including policies and programs that support low-income and other working families. Andrew is currently working on projects exploring counties with high child poverty and the economic conditions of immigrants in rural places. Read More...
Jessica Carson
Jess Carson is a Research Assistant Professor with the Vulnerable Families Research Program at the Carsey School of Public Policy. Since joining Carsey in 2010, she has studied poverty, work, and the social safety net, including policies and programs that support low-income workers like affordable health insurance, food assistance programs, and quality child care. Her other interests include health within and across families, and the intersection of health and employment across the income spectrum. Jess is also working on a long-term project around the challenges and opportunities facing people who live and work in rural communities, with the goal of highlighting the strategies that work best to support them. She has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of New Hampshire. Read More...

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and anonymous donors.