Child Poverty

More Than Half of a Million Ohio Children Live in Poverty, and Ohio Ranks Worst in Nation for Multiracial Child Poverty Rate

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***        September 13, 2018

Nikki Thomas, Manager, Research and Data

Tracy Nàjera, Executive Director


More Than Half of a Million Ohio Children Live in Poverty, and Ohio Ranks Worst in Nation for Multiracial Child Poverty Rate 

COLUMBUS – According to estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, 20.1 percent of Ohio children (roughly 513,000) lived in poverty in 2017, making Ohio’s child poverty rate 35th in the nation and putting the state in last place (50th) for multiracial child poverty rate (33.5 percent).

Recent decreases in the overall child poverty rate estimates have masked disparities among children from different racial and ethnic groups. The poverty rates for Hispanic, Asian, and multiracial children increased in Ohio between 2016 and 2017. In addition, Ohio’s Black, Hispanic, and multiracial children experienced poverty at higher rates than White children.

Ohio Children in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity 2017 and 2016

Race/Ethnicity Percent 2017 Percent 2016 Ohio’s Rank 2017 Ohio’s Rank 2016
White  13.8  14.3  41  37
Black  42.1  44.6  40  40
Hispanic  34.3  33.2  45  38
Asian  12.8  11.1  22  24
2 or More Races
 33.5  30.4  50  46
All Groups  20.1  20.5  35  33

“No child in Ohio should have to endure the stress and challenge of poverty or extreme poverty,” says Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio Executive Director Tracy Nájera. “The state’s child poverty rates – especially for children of color – are unconscionable.”

Nearly 1 in 10 Ohio children (9.2 percent) lived in extreme poverty in 2017. The rate of children living in extreme poverty is particularly high for children under age six (11.7 percent), making Ohio 43rd in the nation. Poverty is defined as an annual income below $25,283 for an average family of four, and extreme poverty is half of that level.

“Our children’s lives and well-being are at stake. Child poverty is connected to poor health and poor social, educational, and economic outcomes, not only in childhood, but also in adulthood. We need our state leaders and policymakers to address the needs of our most vulnerable children along with the disparities we see between different racial and ethnic groups of children,” states Nájera, “These numbers highlight the importance of ensuring that all Ohioans have access to jobs that pay enough to sustain themselves and their families and access to the education and supports required to obtain those jobs.”


The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.