Child poverty in the U.S.

facts & stats About Child Poverty in the United States

You might think poverty in America looks different than poverty in other countries. And while that is true in some ways, our childhood poverty rate is higher than in many other developed nations. Children living in poverty in the U.S. face their own distinct challenges, leaving 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, crucial health and dental services, career placement initiatives, and more.

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  • Although the latest U.S. census data puts the national poverty rate at 12.8%, the rate for children (under age 18) is nearly 17%.

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  • The child poverty rate varies considerably from state to state, from a low of 8.1% (Utah) to a high of 27.7% (Mississippi).

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  • According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 33 million Americans are food insecure – including 5 million children.

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  • A person making $20,000 per year is well above the official poverty line in America. However, trying to support more than one other person on that annual income places them below the line.

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  • It is estimated that nearly 6 in 10 Americans cannot cover a $1,000 emergency.

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Recent studies have shown that between the ages of 20 and 75, nearly 60% of Americans will experience at least one year below the official poverty line.

The school dropout rate for youth from families in the top quarter income bracket is roughly 3%. For youth in families in the lowest quarter bracket, the rate is about 11.5%.

The U.S. life expectancy between those in the wealthiest percentiles and the poorest is more than 15 years.


the top 3 states with the
of child poverty

(Based on U.S. Census Data)


Children International operates its U.S. sponsorship program in Arkansas, the state with the seventh highest percentage of children living in poverty.

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