The 49 states of rising child poverty

The map above shows the percentage-point change in poverty rates among children aged 5 to 17 from 2007 to 2012. (View full screen version.)

The map above shows the percentage-point change in poverty rates among children aged 5 to 17 from 2007 to 2012. (View full screen version.)

Children in North Dakota were the only ones in the nation to have weathered the Great Recession generally unscathed. In every other state in the nation, at least one county saw poverty rise among school-aged children between 2007 and last year, according to new Census Bureau data.

The Great Recession began and ended during those five years, although the subsequent recovery has been unusually weak in some ways. Just 17 of the nation’s more than 3,100 counties saw poverty decline in a statistically significant way among children ages 5 to 17. Poverty for that age group rose in 964 counties from 2007 to 2012.

The data also show high concentrations of child poverty. Poverty rates among school-age children were higher than 1 in 4 in more than a third of all the nation’s counties.

But the situation was less dire when Americans of all ages were taken into account. Rates are above 1 in 4 among just over one tenth of all counties. Poverty declined in 32 counties from 2007 to 2012 and rose in 1,029. Again, no counties in oil-rich North Dakota reported increases in poverty.

The Census data were part of a release last week that also showed the D.C. suburbs dominating the list of wealthiest U.S. counties, even as income fell among 89 percent of counties where it was statistically different from its 2007 levels.

Despite rising economic inequality and poverty, the federal food stamp has undergone its largest cut in half a century and extended unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of December.

Further reading:

The Washington Post and the New York Times recently both dropped big features on what it’s like to grow up as a child in poverty. Both are worthwhile reads.

Waiting for the 8th: The months seem a bit longer for a D.C. woman and her family after recent cuts to the food stamps they rely on.

Invisible Child: Dasani’s Homeless Life

School-age change in poverty by county (statistically significant, ages 5-17)

(View full screen)


The above map shows the percentage point change to poverty rates among kids aged 5 to 17 from 2007 to 2012 in counties where that shift was statistically significant.

Change in poverty by county (statistically significant, all ages)

(View full screen)
The above map shows the percentage point change to poverty rates among all Americans from 2007 to 2012 in counties where that shift was statistically significant.

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