Child poverty in the U.S.

facts & stats About Child Poverty in the United States

You may believe poverty in America looks different than poverty in other countries. And while that is true in some ways, our childhood poverty rate is much higher than other developed nations. Children living in poverty in the U.S. face their own distinct challenges that leave them struggling with preventable health issues, falling victim to violence and drugs, and failing to receive an adequate education. Your sponsorship or gift helps break the cycle of poverty for children in these communities by providing access to education programs and community centers, as well as crucial health and dental services, career placement initiatives and more.

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  • 1 child in 6 lives in poverty compared to 1 in 8 adults. That’s 11.9 million impoverished children in the U.S.

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  • Children in the U.S. experience higher poverty rates than most developed nations.

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  • Today, the poverty line for a family of 4 is about $26K – half the income needed for basic financial security.

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  • Food insecurity has lasting effects like low reading & math scores, & more physical & mental health problems.

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  • In 2017, 40 million people struggled with hunger in the United States.

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1 child in every 7 will be born
into poverty in the United States.

Students from 16 to 24 years old from low-income families are 7x more likely to drop out than more well-off peers.

Almost 40% of American children spend at least 1 year in poverty before they turn 18. 

Between 2012 and 2014, federal spending fell for childrens’ education, nutrition, social services and early education and care. The government spends just 10% of the national budget on children — a fraction of what other developed countries spend.


the top 3 states with the
of child poverty

(Based on 2014 census data and presented by the National Center for Children in Poverty.)


These 8 states have the highest rates of food insecurity across the U.S.: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine and Oklahoma.

Arkansas is ranked 44th of 51 (states and Washington D.C.) in terms of child poverty. But that’s where Children International works.

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