Ending Child Poverty

More than 15.5 million children in America were poor in 2014, with more than two-thirds in working families. A disproportionate number are Black and Latino. Poor children often lag behind their peers in many ways beyond income: They are often less healthy, can trail in emotional and intellectual development, and are less likely to graduate from high school. Poor children are more likely to become poor parents. Every year we let children live in poverty, it costs our nation half a trillion dollars in lost productivity and increased health and crime costs.

Our vision is to end child poverty. We must ensure all parents and caregivers have the resources to support and nurture their children: jobs with livable wages, affordable high-quality child care, supports for working families like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, and safety nets for basic needs like nutrition and housing assistance. We must also ensure every child in our rich nation has access to high-quality early childhood development and learning, comprehensive health coverage and care, and quality K-12 education so all children can reach their full potential.

Our groundbreaking report Ending Child Poverty Now shows how we can shrink overall child poverty by 60 percent, Black child poverty by 72 percent, rural child poverty by 68 percent, and improve the economic circumstances of 97 percent of poor children simply by investing more in programs that work like the EITC, SNAP, housing subsidies, subsidized jobs, the Child Tax Credit, child care subsidies and others. Read the report and spread the word about its important findings. You can also sign up here to receive updates on how you can support our campaign to end child poverty now.

What's New

How we could cut child poverty by 60 percent right now

CDF’s new report Ending Child Poverty Now shows for the first time how we can shrink overall child poverty by 60 percent, Black child poverty by 72 percent, rural child poverty by 68 percent and improve the economic circumstances of 97 percent of poor children, by investing more in programs that work. Read the report and spread the word about its important findings. You can also sign up here to receive updates on how you can support our campaign to end child poverty now.

New data on child poverty show children remain the poorest age group.

In 2014, 15.5 million children (21.1 percent) were poor. While the overall child poverty rate declined slightly since 2013, the child poverty rate for Black children increased by 10 percent between 2013 and 2014, even though rates for other races and ethnicities declined. Children of color, who will be the majority of children in America in 2020, continued to be disproportionately poor. Read more here.

Only 10 states experienced statistically significant drops in child poverty since 2013.

Children of color and younger children continue to have the highest poverty rates. In almost half of the states 40 percent or more of Black children are poor and in 32 states more than 30 percent of Hispanic children are poor. Only two states had White, non-Hispanic child poverty rates higher than 20 percent, whereas only one state had Black child poverty rates lower than 20 percent. In 20 states more than 25 percent of children under 6 are poor at the time of greatest brain development. Read more here and and check out our interactive map on child poverty.

What does child poverty look like in your state? Find out now.

New Annie E. Casey report on two-generation strategies

Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach describes a new approach to reducing poverty, which calls for connecting low-income families with early childhood education, job training and other tools to achieve financial stability and break the cycle of poverty — and recommends ways to help equip parents and children with what they need to thrive.

New Center for American Progress report on eliminating barriers to economic security for people with criminal records

One Strike and You’re Out looks at how a criminal record can present a lifelong obstacle to employment, housing, public assistance, education, and family reunification and provides recommendations for how to eliminate those barriers and ensure Americans with criminal records have a fair shot at a decent life.

Child Poverty Data and Resources
Read this Groundbreaking Report Now
 
Find out what child poverty looks like in your state. View the map.

2015-children-in-the-states-complete

State data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 17, 2015 reveal that child poverty in 2014 remains at record high levels in the states. Children are the poorest age group, and the poorest are children of color and those under age six.

October 28, 2015

2015-alabama-children-in-the-states.pdf

State data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 17, 2015 reveal that child poverty in 2014 remains at record high levels in the states. Children are the poorest age group, and the poorest are children of color and those under age six.

October 21, 2015

2015-arkansas-children-in-the-states.pdf

State data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 17, 2015 reveal that child poverty in 2014 remains at record high levels in the states. Children are the poorest age group, and the poorest are children of color and those under age six.

October 21, 2015

2015-arizona-children-in-the-states.pdf

State data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 17, 2015 reveal that child poverty in 2014 remains at record high levels in the states. Children are the poorest age group, and the poorest are children of color and those under age six.

October 21, 2015

Ending Child Poverty Now Talking Points

October 13, 2015

Child Poverty in America 2014 State Fact Sheet

State data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 17, 2015 reveal that child poverty in 2014 remains at record high levels in the states. Children are the poorest age group, and the poorest are children of color and those under age six.

September 22, 2015

Child Poverty in America 2014 National Fact Sheet

Poverty data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 16, 2015 reveal that child poverty declined slightly in 2014, from 21.5 percent in 2013 to 21.1 percent in 2014. While child poverty rates declined for Hispanic, White and Asian children, Black children saw an increase and continue to have the highest child poverty rate. Despite some decreases child poverty among all children remains at shamefully high levels. One in five children – 15.5 million – were poor in 2014, and children remain the poorest age group in the country.

September 17, 2015

Poverty Hurts Children, Yet More Than One in Five Children in America Lives in Poverty; Black Child Poverty Increases 10 Percent

September 16, 2015

Action Ideas for the 2015 Children's Sabbaths Weekend and Throughout the Year

The National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths is about more than worship — even though worship is central to the occasion. The weekend, with the insight and inspiration from the experience of worship, aims to generate powerful, faithful sustained action to improve the lives of children. The Children’s Sabbath resource manual usually offers dozens of ideas and suggestions for actions that places of worship might take on the Children’s Sabbath weekend to learn more and raise awareness, reach out and serve directly, and raise voices for justice. This year we are focusing on five key actions. We hope every place of worship will hold a “Bending the Arc Study & Action Circle” to study and act on CDF’s 2015 Ending Child Poverty Now report. Never has it been more important to prevent threatened federal budget cuts to the programs we know lift children out of poverty — ending child poverty requires more investment in these programs, not less. We hope you will also take one or more of the other actions. This focused, united action will amplify the impact of the Children’s Sabbath weekend and strengthen the connection across faith traditions as we unite to improve the lives of children throughout the year.

September 15, 2015

NCH Invited Written Testimony Marian Wright Edelman

July 30, 2015

Marian Wright Edelman on Child Poverty

Child Watch® Columns

Child Watch® Column (9/19/14): "The High Moral and Economic Cost of Child Poverty in America"

Just released U.S. Census Bureau data reveals 45.3 million people were poor in America in 2013. One in three of those who are poor is a child. Children remain our poorest age group and children of color and those under five are the poorest. More than one in five infants, toddlers, and preschoolers were poor during their years of greatest brain development and vulnerability.

Child Watch® Column (9/12/14): “Helping Children in Hidden Rural Poverty"

When many people hear child poverty in America the first stereotype is an inner city child and discussions about solutions to poverty often focus on concentrated poverty in urban areas. But in a nation where over 16 million children, more than one in five, are poor, the plain truth is that child

Child Watch® Column (10/24/14): "The Real Monsters"

Sadly, too many children do not have normal or safe or protected lives and their monsters are real. They do not have closets in many homeless shelters or on the streets or church steps where they sometimes live with homeless parents. They are not safe in drug and violence infested neighborhoods and suffer chronic hunger especially on weekends and during long summer months when school is out.

Statements

Marian Wright Edelman Responds to New Poverty Numbers (9/16/14)
Child Poverty in the States Still Record High Levels (9/18/14)

Testimony

Marian Wright Edelman House Budget Committee Hearing Testimony

On Wednesday, April 30, 2014, Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, testified before the House Budget Committee on the impact of the War on Poverty on children and how our nation can finish the job started by President Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago. View and read her oral statement, read her full written testimony, and watch the entire hearing here.

Faces of Child Poverty

All too often, when we talk about poverty in abstract terms, we fail to appreciate the impact of poverty on real children’s lives. The following portraits from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Julia Cass remind us that there is no one face of child poverty, but that in every case, poverty takes a toll that no child should have to bear. The stories chronicle the daily struggles to provide children with food and shelter, health care and educational support, and find stable employment paying a livable wage in one of the richest countries on earth. Read their stories.

Read more about what it’s really like to grow up in poverty in CDF’s 2010 report Held Captive: Child Poverty in America, an account of the harm poverty inflicts on children in Quitman County, Miss., Katrina-displaced children in Baton Rouge, La., and children of the newly poor in Long Island, N.Y.

How to End Child Poverty

To end child poverty we must ensure all parents and caregivers have the resources to support and nurture their children: jobs with livable wages, affordable high-quality child care so that caregivers can work, supports for working families like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, and safety nets supports like TANF, nutrition, and housing assistance to make sure children’s basic needs are met.

NEW! Read about how the nation could cut child poverty by 60 percent just by investing more in programs and policies that work. The Children’s Defense Fund’s new report Ending Child Poverty Now shows that contrary to what some believe, we do not have to accept having the second highest child poverty rate among advanced economies. For the first time this report shows how we can shrink overall child poverty by 60 percent, Black child poverty by 72 percent, rural child poverty by 68 percent, and improve the economic circumstances of 97 percent of poor children simply by investing more in programs that work like the EITC, SNAP, housing subsidies, subsidized jobs, the Child Tax Credit, child care subsidies and others. Read the report and spread the word about its important findings. You can also sign up here to receive updates on how you can support our campaign to end child poverty now.

To help today’s poor children succeed in adulthood and reach their full potential we must also ensure every child in our rich nation has access to high-quality early childhood development and learning, comprehensive health coverage and care, and quality K-12 education. Finally we must replace the Cradle to Prison Pipeline® with a pathway to college and career.”

Legislative Priorities

Extension of the ARRA improvements to the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are two of the most effective anti-poverty tools for working families with children. In 2009, as part of the stimulus bill, the two credits were modified to increase their impact for lower income families, married families, and families with three or more children. These improvements are slated to expire at the end of 2017, and if the do, an estimated 1 million children would fall into poverty and 7 million poor children would fall deeper into poverty. Approximately 50 million Americans with modest incomes — including 31 million children — would lose part or all of their Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit. Families raising children on minimum-wage earnings would be particularly hard hit.  A single mother raising two children on full-time, minimum-wage earnings of $14,500 would lose her entire child tax credit of $1,725 – worth more than 10 percent of her earnings.

CDF urges lawmakers to permanently extend the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit improvements so that children in low-income working families can continue to benefit from the extra boost these improvements provide.

Raising the minimum wage to $10.10

A parent with two children working full-time at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour currently earns $4,700 below the poverty level. Nearly 70 percent of the 14.7 million poor children in America live with an adult who works, and 30 percent live with an adult who works full-time year-round. It is way past time we increase the minimum wage. The current federal minimum wage is worth 32 percent less in inflation-adjusted terms than it was at its peak in 1968. If it had grown at the same rate as productivity, the minimum wage would be $18.30 today.

CDF urges lawmakers to raise the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour so no one working full-time earns below poverty wages.

CDF Publications

Ending Child Poverty Now shows for the first time how we can shrink overall child poverty by 60 percent, Black child poverty by 72 percent, rural child poverty by 68 percent and improve the economic circumstances of 97 percent of poor children, at a cost of just 2 percent of the federal budget. Read the report and spread the word about its important findings. You can also sign up here to receive updates on how you can support our campaign to end child poverty now.

2015-children-in-the-states-complete

State data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 17, 2015 reveal that child poverty in 2014 remains at record high levels in the states. Children are the poorest age group, and the poorest are children of color and those under age six.

October 28, 2015

2015-alabama-children-in-the-states.pdf

State data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 17, 2015 reveal that child poverty in 2014 remains at record high levels in the states. Children are the poorest age group, and the poorest are children of color and those under age six.

October 21, 2015

2015-arkansas-children-in-the-states.pdf

State data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 17, 2015 reveal that child poverty in 2014 remains at record high levels in the states. Children are the poorest age group, and the poorest are children of color and those under age six.

October 21, 2015

2015-arizona-children-in-the-states.pdf

State data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 17, 2015 reveal that child poverty in 2014 remains at record high levels in the states. Children are the poorest age group, and the poorest are children of color and those under age six.

October 21, 2015

Ending Child Poverty Now Talking Points

October 13, 2015

Child Poverty in America 2014 State Fact Sheet

State data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 17, 2015 reveal that child poverty in 2014 remains at record high levels in the states. Children are the poorest age group, and the poorest are children of color and those under age six.

September 22, 2015

Child Poverty in America 2014 National Fact Sheet

Poverty data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 16, 2015 reveal that child poverty declined slightly in 2014, from 21.5 percent in 2013 to 21.1 percent in 2014. While child poverty rates declined for Hispanic, White and Asian children, Black children saw an increase and continue to have the highest child poverty rate. Despite some decreases child poverty among all children remains at shamefully high levels. One in five children – 15.5 million – were poor in 2014, and children remain the poorest age group in the country.

September 17, 2015

Poverty Hurts Children, Yet More Than One in Five Children in America Lives in Poverty; Black Child Poverty Increases 10 Percent

September 16, 2015

Action Ideas for the 2015 Children's Sabbaths Weekend and Throughout the Year

The National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths is about more than worship — even though worship is central to the occasion. The weekend, with the insight and inspiration from the experience of worship, aims to generate powerful, faithful sustained action to improve the lives of children. The Children’s Sabbath resource manual usually offers dozens of ideas and suggestions for actions that places of worship might take on the Children’s Sabbath weekend to learn more and raise awareness, reach out and serve directly, and raise voices for justice. This year we are focusing on five key actions. We hope every place of worship will hold a “Bending the Arc Study & Action Circle” to study and act on CDF’s 2015 Ending Child Poverty Now report. Never has it been more important to prevent threatened federal budget cuts to the programs we know lift children out of poverty — ending child poverty requires more investment in these programs, not less. We hope you will also take one or more of the other actions. This focused, united action will amplify the impact of the Children’s Sabbath weekend and strengthen the connection across faith traditions as we unite to improve the lives of children throughout the year.

September 15, 2015

NCH Invited Written Testimony Marian Wright Edelman

July 30, 2015

Ending Child Poverty Brief July 2015

Too many U.S. children have to face challenges like hunger, homelessness, instability and toxic stress. Every fifth U.S. child lives below the poverty line — in families trying to make do on less than $8 a person a day before most government safety net supports are counted. Even after government benefits, the U.S. has the second highest child poverty rate among 35 advanced economies.

FY2016 House and Senate Budget Fact Sheet

Reducing Child Poverty in the US: Costs and Impacts of Policies Proposed by the Children’s Defense Fund

Reducing Child Poverty in the US: Costs and Impacts of Policies Proposed by the Children’s Defense Fund Linda Giannarelli, Kye Lippold, Sarah Minton, and Laura Wheaton

Ending Child Poverty Now

For the first time, this report shows that by investing an additional 2 percent of the federal budget into existing programs and policies that increase employment, make work pay, and ensure children’s basic needs are met, the nation could reduce child poverty by 60 percent and lift 6.6 million children out of poverty.

January 28, 2015

Ending Child Poverty Now

For the first time, this report shows that by investing an additional 2 percent of the federal budget into existing programs and policies that increase employment, make work pay, and ensure children’s basic needs are met, the nation could reduce child poverty by 60 percent and lift 6.6 million children out of poverty.

January 28, 2015

State Poverty Data

2013 Child Poverty in the States by Age and Race/Ethnicity

Child Poverty In America 2013: State Analysis

State data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 18, 2014 reveal that child poverty remains at record high levels in the states, and that the highest rates are for children of color and young children.

September 29, 2014

Child Poverty In America 2013: State Analysis

State data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 18, 2014 reveal that child poverty remains at record high levels in the states, and that the highest rates are for children of color and young children.

Child Poverty In America 2013 Fact Sheet

Poverty data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 16, 2014revealthat child poverty dropped significantly for the first time since 2000, from 21.8 percent in 2012 to 19.9 percent in 2013.While child poverty decreased for Hispanic, White and Asian children, Black children saw no decrease and continue to have the highest child poverty rate. Despite some decreases child poverty among all children remains at shamefully high levels.

September 17, 0014

Summary of Ryan Poverty Plan 3

On Thursday July 24th, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan released a plan to address poverty in a report titled “Expanding Opportunity in America– A Discussion Draft from the House Budget Committee.” While the report includes a few recommendations that would likely benefit poor children, namely an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless adults and criminal justice reforms, the reports proposals for safety net and education programs would likely harm poor children.

More Ending Child Poverty Data